Haiti - Insecurity : The UN calls for an immediate end to the looting of humanitarian supplies
A number of warehouses used by UN agencies have been attacked by protesters in cities including Gonaives and Les Cayes.
Ulrika Richardson, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, the organization’s most senior humanitarian official in Haiti, has called for these attacks and the looting of supplies to stop. "What we are seeing is the result of people’s frustration and despair over very dire living conditions. Looting warehouses is not the answer; it only serves to makes an effective response and assistance to families in need more difficult. Today’s situation calls for additional efforts by the humanitarian community. For that to happen we need safe access for humanitarian workers and supplies."
The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), has lost over 2,000 metric tonnes of food in Gonaives and Les Cayes, which had been prepositioned as part of its emergency response for protecting the most vulnerable ahead of the hurricane season.
Other UN agencies have also reported thefts, looting and disruptions to their work across Haiti, due to civil unrest.
In Gonaives, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) lost 2,000 non-food item kits, enough to support 10,000 people, in an attack on their warehouse. Facilities belonging to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) were also attacked and looted.
In Port-au-Prince, the UN-coordinated IDP taskforce – bringing together a range of local partners to help reach the most vulnerable – has now said it is unable to deliver support to most of the 22,000 internally-displaced people across the city, again as a result of the unrest.
And nationwide, the UN’s Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) is currently unable to ensure the availability of essential medicines, vaccines and medical inputs where it is needed most.
"The safety and well-being of all Haitians, especially the most vulnerable children, women and men, is our priority right now. A strong, well-equipped humanitarian assistance operation and safe access for humanitarian workers is therefore of utmost importance," said Ulrika Richardson, adding that "the UN, along with its humanitarian partners, will continue to uphold the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence in the delivery of humanitarian assistance."
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