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UN seeks security for aid amid looting in Haiti

UN humanitarians are seeking security for aid containers arriving in Haiti following the looting of one with essential items for maternal, neonatal and infant survival.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in Port-Au-Prince continues despite the tense and volatile situation in the capital.

OCHA said the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that one of its containers holding resuscitators and critical supplies for early childhood development was looted on Saturday at Port-au-Prince’s main port. It also contained education and water equipment.

“Our colleagues from UNICEF condemned the looting and emphasized that depriving children of vital health supplies amidst a collapsing health care system is a violation of their rights,” OCHA said. “With more than 300 containers belonging to UN agencies and nongovernmental organizations in Port-au-Prince, discussions continue with port and state authorities to secure them.”

OCHA said the only public hospital in Port-au-Prince with the capacity to treat trauma continues to operate with support from the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization. The hospital has activated its mass casualty plan to increase its capacity to receive more patients.

The office said a new survey of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) shows that in addition to creating displacement within the capital area, attacks and insecurity are pushing more and more people to leave the region for refuge in provinces, taking the risk of passing through gangs-controlled routes.

The World Food Programme reported delivering 115,000 hot meals to people displaced in the capital. ■

Famagusta Gazette