HAITI: More than 4 million Haitians are suffering from severe food shortages due to thugs blockading a significant petroleum terminal, according to UN officials on Friday.
To protest a proposal to reduce fuel subsidies, a coalition of gangs has blocked the distribution of diesel and gasoline for more than a month.
Ulrika Richardson, the U.N. system’s resident and humanitarian coordinator in Haiti said, “The majority of transportation has been stopped, and looting and gang shootouts are becoming more frequent.”
Later, a U.N. representative stated that Richardson should have used the term catastrophic hunger instead of famine to describe the situation, “We have for the first time a famine present in Haiti.”
Given that Haiti’s humanitarian response plan for this year has only received less than 30% of the necessary cash, Richardson argued that other nations must do more to assist the Caribbean nation.
An investigation released on Friday by U.N. agencies and relief organizations found that 19,200 people in Haiti’s Cite Soleil are experiencing famine-like circumstances. When at least 20% of the families in a region are experiencing famine-like circumstances, a famine is proclaimed.
According to the report, 4.7 million people—nearly half of Haiti’s population—are affected by severe food insecurity.
According to Jean-Martin Bauer, the World Food Program’s national director in Haiti, the situation was “close to breaking point.”
According to a U.N. study published on Friday, elderly women and children as young as 10 have been victims of sexual assault, including hours-long collective rapes in front of their parents or children.
According to Samantha Power, the director of USAID, a Disaster Assistance Response Team was dispatched to Haiti on Friday.
According to the USAID website, these teams—which often include experts in infectious diseases, nutrition, and logistics—are sent out in response to complex emergencies and natural catastrophes.
In addition to sending a Coast Guard vessel to patrol the area, the U.S. State Department has assisted Haiti’s police.
According to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols, in the upcoming days, the United States and Canada will hand over armored vehicles that Haiti has purchased to the Haitian police.