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Due to fuel shortage, Haitian health care providers have been forced to cut back their services drastically.
On Wednesday, White House Spokesperson Jean Psaki announced that the United States is supporting the Haitian Police unblock the country's main roads and oil terminals, which gangs are currently controlling to generate fuel shortages and force the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
“Our focus right now is on supporting the Haitian National Police. What they are trying to do is secure transportation corridors to allow for fuel deliveries… We’ve also allocated an additional US$15 million to the Haitian police, including US$12 million specifically to strengthen their capacity to respond to gangs. And we’re looking to increase this assistance even more,” Psaki said.
The Caribbean nation has never produced enough electricity to meet the needs of the whole population. Even in well-off parts of Port-au-Prince, the state-run Haiti electric utility EDH only provides, at most, a few hours of power a day. The energy crisis has also been exacerbated by the nationwide strike of transportation workers, who have refused to transport fuel to gang-controlled terminals for fear of their lives.
“In many countries, a fuel shortage would disrupt transportation. In our country, however, it has affected essential services," citizen Maarten Boute stated and recalled that most institutions get power from fuel-powered generators because the Haitian electrical grid is unreliable.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti A man spreads his arms apart in smoke created by burning rubbish in Port-au-Prince during a general strike. Unions and residents called for the strike to demand an end to kidnappings, violence and insecurity in the streets
“We need police presence. I will not send any driver back to gang-controlled oil terminals until the government ensures 24-hour law enforcement along their route," the Gas Station Owners National Association Director Marc Deriphonse stated.
On Tuesday, gang leader Jimmy Cherizier acknowledged that his criminal network was blocking fuel delivery not to hurt ordinary people but to pressure Prime Minister Ariel Henry to resign. However, the fuel shortage is already playing out in the cruelest ways among the most vulnerable Haitians since health care providers have been forced to cut back their services drastically.
“I hope for a better Haiti, but I know the situation will not improve since the master of our destiny and the decision-maker of our lives is no longer the government, but the armed gangs,” citizen Rousleau Desrosiers lamented.