Cyprus Mail
AmericasWorld

Haiti gang wars block aid routes for most vulnerable, U.N. agency says

file photo: residents flee gang violence, in port au prince
FILE PHOTO: Residents carry belongings as they leave their homes due to gang violence, in the Pernier section of Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 30, 2024

A recent spike of violence in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, is preventing the World Food Programme (WFP) from reaching hundreds of thousands of people in urgent need of supplies, as conflicts between armed gangs worsen an escalating humanitarian crisis.

The United Nations’ food agency on Thursday said the latest violence, which broke out in early February and has forced nearly 10,000 people to flee their homes in just 10 days, has prevented the agency from reaching over 370,000 people in the most urgent need of food.

“The recent upsurge in violence has blocked cargo routes, restricted movement and closed schools, forcing WFP to temporarily halt many activities across the country,” country director Jean-Martin Bauer said in a statement.

The WFP said school closures have prevented the group from helping to provide hot meals to some 300,000 children, while violence in the hard-hit Cite Soleil neighborhood was stopping it from reaching families there.

Plans to distribute food to displaced people through communal kitchens elsewhere in the capital had also been complicated, it said.

In recent weeks the agency said it has been unable to reach 56,000 people in Cite Soleil, including people on the brink of slipping back into the WFP’s worst category of food insecurity, marked by famine-like conditions.

“Interruptions in aid could push them back into what is officially known as ‘catastrophe’ levels of food insecurity,” WFP’s Haiti communications director Tanya Birkbeck said.

Birkbeck said the stocks of dry goods, such as rice and beans, are safe in WFP warehouses and the agency will keep trying to deliver them.

The U.N. estimates some 44% of Haitians are facing acute food insecurity, and that as of January, children accounted for over half of some 314,000 forced to flee their homes due to the conflict.

Last year, the U.N. ratified sending an international force to help police fight gangs and secure routes for humanitarian aid. No date has been set for its deployment, nor has the U.N. announced which countries are volunteering contributions.

The violence has forced other aid groups including Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) to suspend clinics and close hospitals, while poorly funded campaigns forced the WFP to slash funding last year.

Follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News

Related Posts

Flooded UAE counts cost of epic rainstorm, airport still facing disruptions

Reuters News Service

EU leaders back new Iran sanctions after attack on Israel

Reuters News Service

US is reimposing oil sanctions on Venezuela, officials say

Reuters News Service

Hezbollah launches missiles and drones at northern Israel

Reuters News Service

Swiss vote to ban swastika in crackdown on extremist symbols

Reuters News Service

Israel will defend itself, Netanyahu says, as West calls for restraint

Reuters News Service