Haiti: Gang violence blocks food aid distribution

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The United Nations has been forced to move humanitarian aid and workers to Haiti by air and sea because of a rapidly deteriorating security situation in the capital Port-au-Prince, parts of which are infested with gangs, an official said Tuesday.

The revelation comes as aid organizations are already struggling to deal with the food crisis in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

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More than 50 people, including many innocents, have been killed since Friday in gunfights between rival gangs, according to the mayor of Cite Soleil, a suburb of the Haitian capital, as violence continues to escalate a year after the assassination of the president. Jovenel Moise from a group of mercenaries.

The World Food Program (WFP) explained that aid shipments are often caught in the crossfire and that it has adopted alternative transport methods to avoid gangs and make deliveries on time.

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“This violence has an impact on markets, on trade, on people’s livelihoods, and it has cut off the city from the rest of Haiti,” said Jean-Martin Bauer, the director of the PEP in Haiti, speaking to reporters via video link.

Food inflation in the country has reached around 52%, partly due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on prices.

More than 1 million Haitians in the capital already face food insecurity, and deliveries of produce grown in the country, such as bananas for example, are impossible to make by road because the trucks are at risk of being shot at or captured, Mr. Bauer explained. .

The PEP therefore decided to utilize a ferry service that transports food aid from Port-au-Prince to other areas of the country and also uses short air flights for its workers. Already, some 2,000 tons of aid have been transported by this method, according to Mr. Bauer.

Like other Caribbean countries, Haiti was heavily dependent on food imports even before the current crisis emerged.

For the head of the PEP in the country, the prevailing conditions are likely to further increase the number of immigrants trying to get to the US by sea, which has already been increasing in recent months.

“I expect what we’re seeing will help increase immigration even more,” Mr. Bauer said.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s office did not immediately respond when Reuters asked for comment.


Source: Capital

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