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The Haitian capital experienced another eventful day on Friday, September 16, marked by scenes of looting and fires. People took to the streets to vent their anger over the government’s decision to raise fuel prices and demand the departure of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. In the Artibonite department, a drug supply center was ransacked.
The situation remains very tense in Port-au-Prince where all day Friday, protesters tried to light fires, reports our correspondent on the spot, Marie-Andre Belange. In Pétion-Ville and Delmas, demonstrations organized by the population in various places in the Haitian capital were repressed by national police officers who fired live ammunition and used tear gas to disperse the protesters. A bank was looted and partially burned. Vehicles that were in the vicinity of the institution went up in smoke. The police still managed to prevent the looting of several other businesses.
► To listen also: Demonstrations in Haiti: “This situation is the culmination of a rot”
Within the population, the consequences of these protest movements against the rise in gasoline prices and aimed at demanding the departure of the Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, are already being felt. Some families are starting to run out of drinking water and other basic necessities as roads still remain blocked, paralyzing traffic since Tuesday. Gallon in hand, several people were noticed Friday in districts of the Haitian capital in search of water.
Through the Minister of Justice, the Haitian government condemned in a tweet the acts of violence, looting and vandalism perpetrated against the premises of public and international institutions, private companies as well as the residences of political leaders.
On behalf of the government of the Republic, I condemn with the utmost rigor the acts of violence, looting and vandalism perpetrated against the premises of public and international institutions, private companies, as well as the residences of political leaders and peaceful citizens.
— Me.Berto DORCÉ🇭🇹 (@BertoDorceOFF) September 17, 2022
No institution seems spared. Apart from non-governmental organizations, religious schools and large companies, the protesters also vandalized the Artibonite departmental input supply center where medicines from the 15 communes and 140 health centers and hospitals in this department were stored. , reports our correspondent in Gonaives, ronel paul.
” It’s all of Artibonite that will suffer »
As a result, at the entrance to the building, tons of drugs are strewn on the ground. Also on the floor, a gutted refrigerator that contains only a few doses of vaccines. In the middle of the yard, chaos is total: gowns, syringes and boxes of medicine are scattered here and there. A generator that supplied the building with electricity is completely damaged. Inside, the medicine shelves have been emptied.
Jacky Dumont, stock manager, immortalizes the scene in photos. ” These are very expensive vaccines. That’s pentavalent [un vaccin combiné avec cinq vaccins individuels conjugués en un seul, NDLR]. Here, we had medicine for tuberculosis, malaria, for nutrition. We also had vaccines, office equipment, mattresses. The whole of Artibonite will suffer. »
Obviously, drugs were not the priority target of the angry mob. The demonstrators spilled the vaccines on the ground but only took away the refrigerators. Of the ten fridges that the center had, there are only three left, completely ransacked. The protesters also left behind a building in poor condition. Pieces of sheet metal were torn off to gain access to the solar panels that were installed on the roof.
For Jacky Dumont, it is precisely this type of material that was sought after. “ On the roof we had 36 solar panels. We had just received 24 brand new batteries. We also had four new motorcycles and one old one. They all disappeared “, he laments.
This looting will have enormous consequences on the health system of Artibonite, a department where health centers and hospitals were already suffering from a shortage of medicines. Contacted by telephone, the department director of the Artibonite health department, Dr. Marcel Chatelier, in shock, was unable to answer our questions.
On Thursday, the premises of the World Food Program in Gonaïves were looted and burned. Result, according to the director of the WFP in the country, Jean-Martin Bauer: 1,400 tons of food products taken away. These products were to be used in the school canteen feeding programme. ” The amount of food that was looted was enough to feed 100,000 students for three months. The start of the school year in Haiti is in two weeks, at the beginning of October. And it is unfortunately Haitian schoolgirls and schoolchildren who are affected by this disaster. “, he laments.
A disaster in a country facing a serious food crisis. ” In the country, there are more than four million people who are acutely food insecure “recalls the director of the WFP. Humanitarian food assistance is therefore crucial for the populations. “ I can tell you that due to the current insecurity, we have therefore been unable to move around the country for four days. These programs are on hold. They would have to be able to restart in order to be able to provide assistance to this population which is suffering a lot. »
In a message published on Friday, the UN Secretary General said: concerned about the situation in Haiti “, by the voice of his spokesperson. Antonio Guterres called for calm and utmost restraint, urging ” all stakeholders to take immediate action to de-escalate the situation, avert violence and allow the Haitian National Police to fulfill its mandate to protect the population “, According to this press release.