Gang blockade cripples Haiti fuel supplies, hospitals prepare to close


FILE PHOTO: Tanker trucks are being filled with fuel at the Varreux fuel terminal for distribution after a group of Haitian gangs temporarily lifted a blockade leading to shortages, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti November 13, 2021. REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol/File Photo

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - A gang blockade of Haiti's principal fuel terminal has crippled day-to-day activities in the Caribbean nation and now threatens to force the closure of hospitals that rely on diesel generators for electricity.

Port-au-Prince gangs in a brazen move this month dug trenches and littered shipping containers at entrances to the Varreux terminal to protest a Sept 11 announcement that the government would cut fuel subsidies due to their high cost.

"Some hospitals are unable to admit new patients and are preparing to close," wrote United Nations children's agency UNICEF in a statement on Monday, adding that three quarters of major hospitals were affected by the shortages.

"Providing sterile conditions for medical interventions is becoming more challenging and conserving vaccines due to the disruption to cold-chain facilities has become problematic."

Due to a lack of power, radio station Magik 9 on Tuesday had to halt its morning programming as it was conducting interviews regarding the critical situation created by fuel shortages, one of the station's directors wrote on Twitter.

Electricity supply from Haiti's grid is so unsteady that most businesses and offices cannot maintain operations without power provided by diesel generators.

Around 30% of antennas operated by Digicel, Haiti's largest mobile phone provider, were out of fuel, Digicel Chairman Maarten Boute wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

The plan to hike fuel prices unleashed anger among Haitians already struggling with soaring prices, triggering protests and street violence that devolved into looting.

A World Food Programme official on Monday said UN agencies and non-profit organizations lost some $6 million worth of relief supplies during the violence.

Haiti's gang violence has accelerated since last year's assassination of President Jovenel Moise, with kidnappings becoming increasingly frequent and many areas of the country effectively ruled by gangs.

(Reporting by Harold Isaac in Port-au-Prince and Brian Ellsworth in Caracas; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In World

Scholz: Risk of Russia using nuclear weapons has diminished, for now
Guatemala court convicts ex-President Perez, ex-VP in graft case
West presses U.N. chief to inspect drones used by Russia in Ukraine
Most Japanese firms don't support PM Kishida, citing leadership, prices - Reuters Poll
Putin acknowledges Russia's war in Ukraine could be a long one
Analysis-Peru markets take in political drama as investors focus on fundamentals
Exclusive-Soccer-765K World Cup visitors fall short of Qatar's expected 1.2M influx
Hungarian gov't to impose 95 pct extra profit tax on energy company MOL
Hate crimes in U.S. Los Angeles County rise to highest level since 2002: report
Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, Dec. 7

Others Also Read