Cholera, violence, fuel shortage in Haiti: the UN sounds the alarm
The multiple crises currently shaking Haiti prevent international organizations from orchestrating an effective response to the cholera epidemic raging in the country.
The UN has warned Thursday against a risk of an “explosion” of cholera cases in Haiti, a potential new crisis in a country ravaged by insecurity and whose Prime Minister is “calling for help”.
After the bacteria was introduced by peacekeepers in 2010, a cholera epidemic raged until 2019, killing more than 10,000 people.
Three years later, Sunday's announcement of new cases and the first seven deaths sparked fears of yet another disaster as, with the latest surge violence, the country lacks fuel to supply the population with drinking water and run the hospitals.
Since the detection of the cholera bacillus, which is transmitted by water, 11 cases have been confirmed and 111 are suspected, for the moment only in the capital Port-au-Prince, indicated Thursday during x27;a press conference by video from Haiti the UN humanitarian coordinator in the country, Ulrika Richardson.
But the figures could be much higher, she added, adding that analyzes were underway abroad to determine if there whether or not x27;was the same strain as 2010.
With the current situation in the country, if all the right conditions are not met, one could face an exponential, even explosive increase in cholera cases. One could even unfortunately speak of a perfect combination for a disaster, she pointed out.
Since Prime Minister Ariel Henry's September 11 announcement of a fuel price hike, the already crisis-ridden country has been the scene of further violence, looting and protests. And since mid-September, the Varreux oil terminal, the largest in the country, has been blocked by armed gangs.
Scenes of looting have been observed in several cities.
This means that the whole country is running out of fuel, forcing some health services to close and preventing garbage collection, insisted the UN official.
Not to mention the interruption of the water supply, its cleanliness being one of the major conditions for containing an epidemic of cholera, the bacteria of which transmits through water, and to save lives, she added.
It is the combination of an already serious and terrible humanitarian situation […] reinforced by an economic crisis, fuel prices and insecurity, she hammered, stressing that nearly half of the population suffers from hunger.
Under these conditions, the UN and other humanitarian organizations, whose work is complicated by the security situation, called on Thursday for the immediate creation of a corridor humanitarian aid to allow the fuel to come out and meet the urgent needs of the population.
But a corridor established and guaranteed by whom?
According to Ulrika Richardson, the appeal is primarily addressed to the government, which must do everything in its power to unblock the terminal, but also constitutes a plea to the gangs blocking it, a situation that is literally killing people. And finally it is a message to the international community, which must support Haiti to strengthen its security forces, which are not sufficient, it seems, to unblock the terminal.
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry
A powerlessness that the Prime Minister seems to recognize. I call for help, he said during a televised intervention Wednesday evening, addressing the friendly countries of Haiti.
We want these countries to help us unblock the road leading to the main oil terminal so that fuel is available at the stations, he added, accusing the armed gangs of holding the country hostage and causing a humanitarian crisis without previous.
Five years after the departure of the peacekeepers, the new violence is a test for the Haitian police, which receives support from the UN to strengthen their capacities, had estimated the #x27;UN envoy to Haiti Helen La Lime, at a meeting of the Security Council in late September.
While China is calling for the establishment of an embargo on the transfer of small arms to gangs operating in Haiti, a new meeting is to be held on 21st of October.
The United States and Mexico, which drafted a resolution passed in July calling on states to ban the transfer of small arms, said they were working on a new text.