UNITED NATIONS (CMC) – The United Nations (UN) and partners have called for the opening of a humanitarian corridor in Haiti amid the ongoing economic crisis, insecurity and cholera outbreak in the country.
This call comes on the heels of armed gangs reportedly blocking access to the Varreux Terminal, which is located in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and is the main entry point for fuel in the French-speaking Caribbean country.
The UN added that the gangs have been barring the terminal since mid-September.
The UN Deputy Special Representative in the country and the humanitarian and resident coordinator, Ulrika Richardson, said the situation has led to a fuel shortage that has forced many hospitals and health centres to close due to affected water distribution.
“We have called for a humanitarian corridor to be established for fuel to flow into the city and into the rest of the country, so that we can ensure our response,” she said.
“Without fuel, there is no clean water. Without clean water, there will be more cases and it will be very difficult to contain this outbreak,” she added.
Due to the crisis at the terminal, the UN said people in the capital have resorted to buying fuel on the black market at exorbitant prices.
“Sanitation and healthcare is (are) really severely impacted,” the UN said.
“We haven’t had waste collection for months because of the violent situation, the violence on the streets caused by the armed gangs, but also because of the fuel shortage,” the UN added.
In addition to that, since Haitian authorities confirmed two positive cases of cholera on Sunday, the UN said there have been 11 cases, seven deaths and an estimated 111 suspected cases, though numbers could be higher.
Richardson expressed that she feared there could be quite an exponential, if not explosive increase of cholera cases, given the nation’s current conditions.
“One could even say that perhaps the conditions are there for a perfect storm, unfortunately,” she said.
The UN also cited that the rising insecurity in Haiti in recent months has affected the lives of ordinary citizens, who face movement restrictions, lootings, sexual violence and other horrors.
The UN said the dire humanitarian situation has underscored the need for action to protect and save lives.