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Montevideo, July 22nd 2024 - 18:01 UTC

 

 

Haiti: Gangs grab essential Unicef supplies

Monday, March 18th 2024 - 09:50 UTC
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The Haitian government declared a state of emergency from March 7 to April 3 in Port-au-Prince and its surrounding areas (Pic Reuters) The Haitian government declared a state of emergency from March 7 to April 3 in Port-au-Prince and its surrounding areas (Pic Reuters)

As if Haiti's shortages were not severe enough, armed groups sabotaged the main docking facilities in Port-au-Prince and looted several containers, including one from the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), containing essential supplies, it was reported this weekend.

 Looters seized items for the survival of mothers, newborns, and children, including resuscitators and other medical equipment, as well as essential supplies for early childhood development and education, such as water kits, Unicef said.

“Depriving children of vital medical supplies at a time when the health system is collapsing is a violation of their rights,” said Unicef's Bruno Maes. The looting of essential child survival supplies “must stop immediately and humanitarian access must remain secure,” he added.

Last week, armed groups broke into the city's main port, cutting off one of the last access routes for food and supplies into the capital as the country teeters on the brink of collapse amid a political, social, and economic crisis amid escalating gang violence. More than 260 containers belonging to humanitarian organizations are now reportedly in the hands of the armed groups.

In addition, health centers have been closed for security reasons, creating “a catastrophic situation for children, because every closed health center means lives are at risk and essential medical care is denied,” the Unicef envoy also argued.

“If the violence does not stop and essential logistical channels are not reopened, the health crisis will get much worse. We are witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe and time is running out to reverse it,” Maes added.

A soon-to-be-formed transitional presidential council is expected to bring relief to the country following the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. The council is expected to agree on the appointment of a new political leader to pave the way for presidential elections.

In this scenario, Haitian police have reported the death of several members of the Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier gang during a law enforcement raid launched Friday to regain control in the Bajo Delmas area of Port-au-Prince. After the operation, several firearms were seized and many lanes of traffic were cleared, authorities said, as police implemented new strategies.

The Haitian government declared a state of emergency from March 7 to April 3 in the West Department, where the capital is located, to restore order when many parts of the country are under de facto gang rule.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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