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  • A child walks along a garbage-polluted sea shore in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

    A child walks along a garbage-polluted sea shore in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 March 2019

The fuel shortage has affected DINEPA, the country's national water and sanitation agency, hindering its ability to refuel the water pumping stations that supply hospitals, children's shelters and detention centers.

Haitians have been protesting, in the streets, against consistent economic hardship, pending salary payments for civil servants, price increases of food and fuel and the devaluation of the currency by 25% in the last year.  

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Children have disproportionately suffered the effects of the political and economic unrest, according to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Within the vulnerable group exists an even more disproportionately affected subgroup - children who live in institutions such as child homes and juvenile detention centers.

Approximately 25,000 children are living in about 750 children's homes across the country. For these institutions, the ongoing conflict has resulted in the inability to access water for showering and drinking. As a result, many have succumbed to drinking non-potable water that is not suitable for consumption. 

The fuel shortage has affected DINEPA, the country's national water and sanitation agency, hindering its ability to refuel the water pumping stations that supply hospitals, children's shelters and detention centers. The low fuel supply is also making it more difficult to access food and medicine. Maternity clinics are short-staffed, resulting in insufficient neonatal care for patients. 

UNICEF has been working alongside local agencies, such as DINEPA and the NGO Solidarites International to provide water and fuel to affected areas.  

Despite the impression of the weeks of ongoing violence, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres plans on phasing out the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti peacekeeping force. The national police will reassume all security responsibilities that were taken over by the special force made up of almost 1,000 police and 325 civilians. The measure to gradually phase out, in six months, will be discussed by the Security Council Friday. 

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