Thousands Of Children At Risk Of Starvation As Haitian Politicians Dither.

Photo: US Navy. There is a risk of death through malnutrition for “countless children”  in Haiti as gangs tighten their grip on power, blocking roads and deliveries of food and preventing people from working, UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said Tuesday.
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There is a risk of death through malnutrition for “countless children”  in Haiti as gangs tighten their grip on power, blocking roads and deliveries of food and preventing people from working, UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said Tuesday.

“The violence and instability in Haiti have consequences far beyond the risk of the violence itself,” she said in a press release.

Russell said that more than 125,000 children are imminently threatened by severe acute malnutrition, all “while life-saving supplies are ready to be delivered if violence stops and roads and hospitals are opened.”

According to a report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification initiative, nearly 5 million people — accounting for about half of Haiti’s population — have been pushed to “high levels of acute food insecurity” since gang violence surged.

Food insecurity and the health crisis are worsened by limited access to those in need. UNICEF says a lack of security wrought by the gang violence has restricted aid deliveries and weakened the country’s health care system.

The United Nations’ children’s agency called for the return of law and order to Haiti’s streets so hospitals, schools and other “humanitarian spaces” can be protected.

Despite barriers to providing aid, some assistance has reached people in need. The World Food Program said on Monday that 18,500 hot meals were delivered to displaced people, the organization’s largest distribution this month.

Additionally, UNICEF and its partners distributed approximately 1.7 million liters of water to more than 15,000 in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Health is also being monitored in the capital, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA. The agency said disease outbreak monitoring is continuing in sites for displaced people.

Despite recent successes in providing aid, OCHA added that more aid needs to be given. It said the WFP was still not able to reach thousands of people, and that medical supply distribution was a “critical need,” but stock replenishment was hindered.

Gangs launched a coordinated attack on the capital late last month, plunging the nation into chaos by destroying infrastructure and causing civilian fatalities.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry has said he would resign once a transitional presidential council is created. But that has been delayed following disagreements over council members after Haitian politicians were given 24 hours to put a plan together by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the CARICOM leaders.

According to Caribbean officials, no meetings with nominated members of the council have been planned for this week, as they have asked for more time to work on internal issues. The members of the council have not been publicly named.

Source: VOA.

 

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