Haiti: new call to safeguard medical services, provide humanitarian access and respect the red cross emblem
Port-au-Prince, 19 October 2022 - With no end in sight to the violence in Haiti, the Haitian National Red Cross Society, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are repeating their call for all those involved to safeguard medical services, provide humanitarian access and respect the red cross emblem.
As the violence continues to have a serious impact on the people of Haiti, this devastating humanitarian situation is being exacerbated by the current fuel shortage. Many people are now finding it difficult to travel, feed themselves and meet their basic needs. A new outbreak of cholera is making Haiti's already desperate situation even more acute.
With the country mired in crisis, it is now virtually impossible to get hold of regular supplies of water or fuel or to access health-care services. These services have been severely impacted by the crisis and many are shutting down or will be forced to imminently if the situation persists, which would leave a large proportion of the population without access to health care. Providing hospitals with the diesel they need for generators is now the highest priority in order to save lives.
The humanitarian consequences of this situation are dire, and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Haiti is calling for everyone to respect basic humanitarian principles. People must be allowed to access medicines and medical services freely, without discrimination, at all times and in all circumstances. People who are ill or injured must not be arbitrarily killed, nor subjected to ill-treatment.
The cholera outbreak also presents a significant risk to the population, particularly children and other vulnerable people, and the ability to prevent a potential epidemic relies on health-care workers being fully mobilized. The Haitian Red Cross, supported by its Movement partners in Haiti, is actively working to tackle the cholera outbreak. However, like many other humanitarian organizations, its work is being jeopardized by the acute fuel shortage.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Haiti is therefore calling on all those involved to respect and protect health-care workers, vehicles and facilities in all circumstances. They must never be hindered in their work to prevent and alleviate human suffering, wherever it is found; nor must they be prevented from safeguarding lives and health.
Finally, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement reminds everyone of its status as a neutral, impartial and independent movement whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of natural disasters, armed conflict and other situations of violence, and to provide them with assistance whenever necessary. In line with these principles, it is imperative to respect the red cross emblem, ambulances and first-aid workers in Haiti.
For more information, please contact:
Koné Yssouf, ICRC – Haiti mission, tel: +509 31 53 8698
Périclès Jean Baptiste, Haitian National Red Cross Society, tel: +509 4895 6149
Susana Arroyo, IFRC – Americas Regional Office, tel: +507 6999 3199