Dominican Republic to send diesel to Haiti's fuel-starved hospitals – Yahoo News

By Brian Ellsworth
(Reuters) – The Dominican Republic has approved a request by a trading firm to export 20,500 gallons of diesel to Haiti for use principally in hospitals, according to letters seen by Reuters, as gangs continue blocking a key fuel terminal in Haiti.
Fuel shortages created by the gang blockade have left Haitian hospitals without diesel to power their generators, which are the only way they can ensure consistent electricity due to chronic outages in Haiti's power grid.
Most hospitals have curtailed or halted operations in recent weeks, just as the country is facing a cholera outbreak on top of a humanitarian crisis driven by shortages of food and water.
A firm called AFA Trading in an Oct. 17 letter to the Dominican industry ministry sought permission to export the fuel via the land border between the two countries, with the intent of supplying three hospitals and one manufacturing facility.
The industry ministry approved the request in a separate letter of the same date seen by Reuters. The letters describe the operation as a re-export, indicating the fuel in question was originally imported to the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican industry ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reuters was unable to obtain comment from AFA Trading.
Haiti is facing acute fuel shortages due to a blockade by a coalition of gangs that are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. The United Nations has discussed sending a military force to confront the gangs and reopen the terminal.
The fuel shortages have halted almost all economic activity, grinding most transportation to a halt and forcing many hospitals to shut down or curtail their operations.
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth in Miami; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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STORY: Haiti is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis.Food, fuel and water shortages are causing catastrophic hunger and the government is asking other countries for military help."…if there was ever a moment to come to the aid of Haitians in dire need, it is now…" But what's causing the crisis?It started with armed gangs blockading a key fuel terminal.The blockade began in September and has led to gas and diesel shortages… grinding most transport to a halt.That meant shortages of basic goods, including clean water. The UN says more than 4 million Haitians are facing acute food insecurity.Hospitals have either had to shut their doors or scale back operations because they can't power the diesel generators they rely on.“Armed gangs, blockading roads and restricting the transport of fuel throughout the country, as a result, medical services unable to reach those people most in need, including those affected by the outbreaks of cholera which have acerbated the misery of Haitian people" Civil unrest is also on the rise.The UN says gangs are using sexual violence to instil fear in the local population.The blockade is being led by a coalition of gangs called G9.It controls areas in and around the capital, Port-au-Prince.The group's leader, Jimmy "Barbecue" Cherizier, is a former police officer who has been the target of U.S. sanctions.They dug trenches around fuel terminal when the government said it was cutting fuel subsidies – saying higher fuel costs will hurt Haitians.Haitian gangs have expanded their control since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021.The killing created a political power vacuum.But the country was already in crisis before that, as it failed to hold elections set for 2019.There's no functioning parliament.Lawmakers' terms have expired.But few believe an election could go ahead right now anyway.U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has proposed a "rapid action force" to confront the gangs and reopen the terminal.There have been pitches for security missions and assistance from countries like the U.S., Mexico and Canada… But most countries appear wary of offering up boots on the ground.
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