Haiti: Haitians trapped by violence, cholera, and lack of food
The living conditions for millions of Haitians are deteriorating due to increased violence across the country, rising insecurity and difficult access to essential services.
The ICRC, which recently reinforced the operational capacity of its mission in Haiti, is working with partners to promote hygiene for detainees and to improve healthcare for those infected with cholera. The ICRC is also training community health responders, including from the Haitian Red Cross (HRC), which operates an ambulance service, on the basics of water testing and treatment.
“People in Haiti are in a very precarious situation, caught between the high levels of armed violence and the increased threat posed not only by cholera but also from a health system unable to help everyone in need,” said Sophie Orr, the ICRC’s regional director for the Americas.
Humanitarian access is of vital importance during such a period of increased violence. The ICRC communicates with all, including armed groups, to enable access to the most vulnerable people and to allow timely and effective humanitarian responses.
“Alongside other organizations, the Red Cross family is expanding its work to assist at this critical moment. But it is imperative that health facilities, ambulances and personnel are respected and allowed to do their work to alleviate human suffering,” Ms Orr said.
The ICRC, in collaboration with its Red Cross Movement partners and other local actors, is:
- Reinforcing the provision of emergency healthcare for detainees to prevent the spread of cholera in 18 detention facilities.
- Training community health actors and HRC volunteers on water testing and treatment to raise awareness within violence-affected communities.
- Training and assisting healthcare workers in some of Port-au-Prince’s most vulnerable and volatile neighborhoods.
- Supporting the HRC’s ambulance service and other key actors with the provision of supplies.
- Providing medical supplies to close partners so that they can stabilize and treat the weapon-wounded and other victims of violence.
Upcoming assistance activities include more medical donations (i.e. material to six hospitals), the provision of trucked water to health services, and donations of chlorine/soap/oral rehydration salts to those in need in vulnerable areas such as Cité-Soleil.
The ICRC calls for all to respect medical personnel, vehicles, and health services, including the volunteers and ambulances of the HRC. The ICRC also calls on national authorities to enable and empower the nation’s medical system to fulfill its duties, and for the international community to support Haiti’s health care system.
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