Home European News ‘Extremely alarming’ conditions worsen in Haiti’s capital: UN coordinator

‘Extremely alarming’ conditions worsen in Haiti’s capital: UN coordinator

‘Extremely alarming’ conditions worsen in Haiti’s capital: UN coordinator

It’s important we don’t let the violence spill over from the capital into the country,” said Ulrika Richardson, briefing journalists at UN Headquarters via videolink from Haiti.

She said orchestrated gang attacks on prisons, ports, hospitals and the palace have unfolded over the past weeks, but in the past few days these heavily armed groups have been advancing into new areas of the capital.

“There is human suffering at an alarming scale,” she said, describing daily tension, sounds of gunshots and fear rising throughout the capital.

Deaths, hunger and gang rape

Abhorrent human rights violations are ongoing, with more than 2,500 people killed, kidnapped or injured, she said, stressing that sexual violence is rampant, with the use of torture and “collective rape” against women. 

“Time is running out” – 

UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti

A total of 5.5 million Haitians needed assistance, more than three million of them children. Food security remains a grave concern, with malnutrition being reported in a growing number of youngsters. In addition, 45 per cent of Haitians do not have access to clean water.

Around 1.4 million Haitians are “one step away from famine”, she warned, calling for urgent support for the humanitarian response plan, which requires $674 million but is only six per cent funded.

With more funds, “we can do more” to help the people of Haiti, she said, saying that “time is running out”.

Lifesaving supplies urgently needed

The Humanitarian Coordinator said UN-backed flights to Haiti have brought some shipments of lifesaving supplies, including blood transfusion bags for hospitals treating growing numbers of gunshot victims.

At the same time, the airport is closed to commercial traffic, making it impossible to import essential goods, including medicines. The national port is operational, but accessing it is challenging, as the surrounding areas are controlled by gangs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that less than half of health facilities in Port-au-Prince are functioning at their normal capacity, and there is a pressing need for safe blood products, anaesthetics and other essential medicines.

According to the World Food Programme, 1.4 million people are facing emergency levels of hunger and need assistance to survive.

WHO calls for swift funding

Elaborating on the health conditions, the UN health agency said the cholera outbreak, which has been declining since the end of last year, could flare up again should the crisis continue. 

Cholera response activities and data surveillance have already been affected by the recent violence, and the situation could worsen significantly in the coming weeks if fuel becomes scarce and access to essential medical supplies is not improved soon, according to WHO.

The WHO chief called for swift support for efforts to help those trapped in a deteriorating situation.

We call on all partners and the public not to forget the people of Haiti,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also calling for safe and unhindered humanitarian access, health workers’ safety to be guaranteed and the protection of health facilities.

WHO and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) are supporting the Ministry of Health and other partners with supplies and logistics, including water, sanitation and hygiene and disease surveillance in centres for displaced persons, he said.

UN chief: Support mission remains ‘critical’

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for all efforts to maintain the momentum and work towards implementing transitional arrangements agreed upon last week following the prime minister’s resignation, said UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq on Thursday.

The UN chief welcomed reports that Haitian stakeholders have all nominated candidates to the Transitional Presidential Council, he said, adding that the UN, through its office in Haiti, BINUH, will continue to support the country in its efforts to restore democratic institutions.

“The swift deployment of the multinational mission remains critical to ensure that the political and security tracks can advance in parallel as only complementary efforts can be successful,” he said.

Security Council condemns gang attacks

In a statement released on Thursday, the Security Council strongly condemned the violence and the attacks carried out by the armed gangs and stressed the need for the international community to redouble its efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the population and to support the Haitian National Police.

That includes through building the capacity to restore law and order and through the swift deployment of multinational security support mission, which the Council  authorized by resolution 2699 (2023) in October, according to the statement.


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