UNICEF Aid for Mothers and Children Looted in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

What You Need to Know:

A UNICEF container with water equipment, resuscitators, neo-natal and child care aid was looted from a terminal at a Port-au-Prince port early yesterday morning, with UNICEF reporting over 260 humanitarian containers are controlled by armed groups. 

Armed men, thought to belong to various gangs operating in the Haitian capital, took over the Caribbean Port Services (CPS) terminal, a major point for food distribution in the country, on March 6th. 

The Details:

“Since January, the deteriorating security situation in Haiti has continued to worsen the humanitarian crisis, with UNICEF expressing grave concerns over the impact of violence on children’s access to an already crumbling healthcare system that is supported by essential UNICEF supplies. Three out of four women and children do not have access to basic public health and nutrition interventions in the Metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince.  In Port-au-Prince, hospitals have been vandalized and forced to close due to safety concerns. There are only two functional surgical operating facilities available, posing significant challenges for providing surgical care to the population, including those wounded in the crossfire,” said UNICEF in a statement. 

 

Haiti’s capital descended into chaos following the escape of over 4000 inmates from two Port-au-Prince penitentiaries through a jailbreak orchestrated by notorious G9 gang leader Jimmy ‘Barbeque’ Chérizier on March 3rd. 

Three days later, an attack was launched by Barbeque on Port-au-Prince’s airport in an attempt to stop acting President Ariel Henry from returning to the country after a diplomatic trip to Kenya. 

Barbeque had demanded the acting President step down from his role to spare the country from ‘civil war’, however, Henry had refused to do so until the community of the Caribbean states (CARICOM) held an emergency meeting on the situation in the country on March 11th. Henry stepped down the following day. As a result, the deployment of a Kenyan contingent to quell unrest in the country, as promised by President Ruto has been delayed over a ‘fundamental change in circumstances’ in the country, according to the Kenyan Foreign Ministry. 

Henry’s resignation and the current lack of an interim government does not bring any certainty regarding the future of the nation, with UNICEF stating, “across the country, six out of ten hospitals are not functional, facing challenges such as electricity, fuel, and medical supply shortages, which has a severe impact on children who need emergency medical attention, especially in Port-au-Prince. A critical shortage of blood products is hindering surgeries, including those for individuals wounded in the crossfire.”

Armed gangs control many areas across the country, with Haitian security services underfunded and under resourced. 

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Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.
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