The Haitian capital experienced another eventful day on Friday, September 16, marked by scenes of looting and fire. People took to the streets to vent their anger at the government’s decision to raise fuel prices and demand the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. In the department of Artibonite, a drug supply center was raided.
The situation remains very tense in Port-au-Prince where throughout the day Friday, protesters tried to light fires, reports our correspondent in the area, Marie-Andre Belange. In Pétion-Ville and Delmas, demonstrations organized by the population in different areas of the Haitian capital were suppressed by national police officers who fired live ammunition and used tear gas to disperse the protesters. A bank was robbed and partially burned. The cars around the institution went up in smoke. The police were still able to prevent the robbery of other businesses.
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Within the population, the consequences of the protest movements against the increase in fuel prices and aimed at demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, have already been felt. Some families are already running out of drinking water and other basic necessities as roads remain blocked, paralyzing traffic since Tuesday. Gallon in hand, many people were noticed on Friday in the districts of the Haitian capital in search of water.
Through the Minister of Justice, the government of Haiti condemned in a tweet the acts of violence, theft and vandalism carried out against public places and international institutions, private companies as well as the residences of leaders in politics.
On behalf of the government of the Republic, I condemn in the strongest terms the acts of violence, theft and vandalism committed 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 to have survived. Apart from non-governmental organizations, religious schools and large companies, the protesters also damaged the Artibonite departmental input supply center where medicines from 15 communes and 140 health centers and hospitals of this department are stored. , reports our correspondent in Gonaives, Ronel Paul.
” All Artibonite will suffer »
As a result, at the entrance of the building, tons of drugs were scattered on the ground. Also on the floor, a gutted refrigerator containing only a few doses of vaccines. In the middle of the yard, chaos is complete: gowns, syringes and medicine boxes are scattered here and there. A generator supplying electricity to the building was completely destroyed. Inside, the medicine shelves were empty.
Jacky Dumont, stock manager, immortalized the scene in photographs. ” These are very expensive vaccines. That’s pentavalent [un vaccin combiné avec cinq vaccins individuels conjugués en un seul, NDLR]. Here, we have medicine for tuberculosis, malaria, for nutrition. We also have vaccines, office supplies, mattresses. The entire Artibonite will suffer. »
Apparently, drugs are not the priority target of the angry crowd. The demonstrators poured the vaccines on the ground but only took the refrigerators. Of the ten refrigerators in the center, only three remained, completely ransacked. Protesters also left a building in poor condition. Pieces of sheet metal are torn off to remove the solar panels mounted on the roof.
For Jacky Dumont, this type of material is sought after. “ On the roof we have 36 solar panels. We just received 24 new batteries. We also have four new motorcycles and one old one. They all disappeared “, he lamented.
This theft has many consequences in the Artibonite health system, a department where health centers and hospitals already suffer from a lack of medicines. Contacted by phone, the director of the Artibonite health department, Dr. Marcel Chatelier, surprisingly, did not answer our questions.
Last Thursday, the site of the World Food Program in Gonaïves was looted and burned. Result, according to WFP country director, Jean-Martin Bauer: 1,400 tons of food products were taken. These products will be used in the school’s canteen feeding program. ” The amount of food stolen was enough to feed 100,000 students for three months. The beginning of the school year in Haiti in two weeks, at the beginning of October. And unfortunately Haitian students and school students were affected by this disaster. “, he lamented.
A disaster in a country facing a severe food crisis. ” In the country, there are more than four million people who are severely food insecure “recalls the WFP director. Humanitarian food aid is therefore essential for populations. “ I can tell you that because of the current uncertainty, we have not been able to move across the country for four days. These programs are on hold. They must be able to start again to provide assistance to this population that is suffering so much. »
In a message published on Friday, the UN Secretary General said: concerned about the situation in Haiti “, through the voice of his spokesman. Antonio Guterres called for calm and maximum restraint, urging ” all concerned to act immediately to de-escalate the situation, avoid violence and allow the Haitian National Police to carry out its mandate to protect the population “, according to this press release.