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Haiti looting caused $6 million loss in relief supplies, says U.N.

Massive protests and street violence in the country targeted the U.N. World Food Program warehouses

Protests in Haiti
Protests in Haiti | Twitter

September 27, 2022 7:51pm

Updated: September 28, 2022 2:03pm

Widespread looting in Haiti this month has led to the loss of more than $6 million in relief assistance, the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) said on Monday as the Caribbean country continues to face violent protests and gang violence.

Two weeks ago, Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced an increase in fuel prices in the country. The announcement triggered massive protests and street violence, which included the sacking of WFP warehouses.

"Over the course of one week, WFP in Haiti lost one-third of our food stocks as two of our four warehouses were deliberately targeted, looted, and pillaged," said Valerie Guarnieri, WFP deputy executive director during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

"We estimate that at least six million dollars worth of relief supplies were lost," said Guarnieri, adding that the looting affected other non-profit organizations and U.N. agencies.

This month, Haiti’s government cut the fuel subsidies that were keeping gasoline and diesel prices low in the country, causing the price of the goods to almost double overnight.

Days after the announcement, gangs blocked access to the Varreux fuel terminal, preventing distribution trucks from approaching the facility.

Additionally, gangs also blocked roads that lead from the nation’s capital to the country’s other provinces, halting day-to-day activities and complicating efforts by aid agencies to distribute food to those in need.

"Under such conditions, basic rights - from freedom of movement to education - are being catastrophically undermined," said Helen La Lime, head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti.

Haiti has been plagued with gang violence since President Jovenel Moise was assassinated last year, leaving a political vacuum and non-ending turf wars by gangs seeking to gain control of more territory. As a result, hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed and many others displaced.