Continuing violence in Haiti threatens health services: UN

After weeks of gang violence and protests in Haiti, humanitarians warn that life-saving services could halt, a UN spokesman said.

“After almost two weeks of complete blockade of the country’s main fuel entry point, water distribution is seriously compromised and health facilities are running dangerously low on fuel,” said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

He added that some hospitals cannot admit new patients and are preparing to close, adding that many hospitals are running out of oxygen, Xinhua news agency reported.

The WHO and its affiliate Pan American Health Organisation are working with health authorities and partners to refurbish emergency medical services at one major public hospital, he said.

The UN agencies joined the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to provide medical supplies for two public hospitals in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, the spokesman added.

He said the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UNFPA also work with hospitals, health authorities and partners to install solar power supplies. However, solar power is insufficient to keep hospitals fully functioning.

Dujarric added that UNICEF estimates that 22,000 children under the age of 5 years, and more than 28,000 newborns, are at risk of not receiving essential health care services for the next four weeks.

He said the current access crisis also raises concerns about the 36 sites for internally displaced people in Haiti. The sites host more than 24,000 people displaced by last year’s earthquake in the south and by the recent gang violence in Port-au-Prince.

“Our colleagues on the ground are concerned about reports of widespread sexual violence, rape and gender-based violence,” the spokesman added.

Haiti’s humanitarian response remains seriously underfunded despite increasing needs, he said.

“As of today (Tuesday), we have received only a third of the funding required for the country’s $373-million humanitarian plan for 2022.”

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