The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that women and children in Haiti are in danger of dying if the country’s fuel scarcity situation is not remedied. UNICEF Deputy Representative for Haiti, Raoul de Torcy stated on Sunday that the lives of many pregnant women and newborns are in jeopardy because hospitals that should give them life-saving care are unable to function due to a lack of fuel. According to him, they will face death if healthcare services fail to meet their needs.
Several hospitals in Haiti have sent UNICEF distress messages because they don’t have enough fuel to run generators and keep emergency services running. According to UNICEF, two main hospitals in the Haitian city of Port-au-Prince are unable to function effectively, putting the lives of 300 children, 45 women in maternity hospitals, and 70 other adults at risk. UNICEF also stated that over 150 COVID-19 patients in hospitals who require emergency care are most vulnerable.
UNICEF has signed a contract with a local company to supply hospitals in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area with fuel, though the supplier was unable to deliver. It has also assisted in the installation of over 900 solar refrigerators in health facilities to keep vaccines in good condition as a temporary solution.
A series of kidnappings, including the abduction this month of a group of American and Canadian missionaries, has interrupted fuel supplies to the capital Port-au-Prince in recent weeks. The fuels are frequently utilised to power generators, which are required to compensate for the country’s inefficient electrical supply. According to Miami Herald, the city’s main fuel terminals are in or near gang-infested areas including Martissant, La Saline, and Cite Soliel, and some gangs are reportedly demanding extortion payments to enable fuel tankers to pass.
Protests erupted in the Delmas area on Saturday, after gas stations ran out of fuel. Officials at Saint Damien hospital, the capital’s leading paediatrics department, said the generators that power ventilators and medical equipment have only three days of gasoline left, according to the Miami Herald. The hospital can run on solar power to some extent, but this is insufficient to meet all of its requirements.
(Inputs from ANI)