Press Release

UN in Haiti calls for looting of humanitarian supplies to stop

22 September 2022

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 22 September 2022

Caption: The WFP warehouse in Gonaives, as pictured before it was looted
Photo: © WFP

The United Nations in Haiti has called for an immediate stop to attacks on humanitarian infrastructure and the looting of humanitarian supplies, as the Caribbean country continues to suffer a second week of civil unrest.

A number of warehouses used by UN agencies have been attacked by protesters in cities including Gonaives and Les Cayes.  

Ulrika Richardson, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, the organization’s most senior humanitarian official in Haiti, has called for these attacks and the looting of supplies to stop. “What we are seeing is the result of people’s frustration and despair over very dire living conditions. Looting warehouses is not the answer; it only serves to makes an effective response and assistance to families in need more difficult. Today’s situation calls for additional efforts by the humanitarian community. For that to happen we need safe access for humanitarian workers and supplies.”

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), has lost over 2,000 metric tonnes of food in Gonaives and Les Cayes, which had been prepositioned as part of its emergency response for protecting the most vulnerable ahead of the hurricane season.

 "We need the violence to stop so that food distributions can resume as soon as possible," said Jean-Martin Bauer, WFP Country Director in Haiti. 

Other UN agencies have also reported theft, looting, and disruptions to their life-saving work across Haiti, due to the civil unrest.

In Gonaives, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) lost 2,000 non-food item kits, enough to support 10,000 people, in an attack on their warehouse. Facilities belonging to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) were also attacked and looted.

In Port-au-Prince, the UN-coordinated IDP taskforce – bringing together a range of local partners to help reach the most vulnerable – has now said it is unable to deliver support to most of the 22,000 internally-displaced people across the city, again as a result of the unrest.  

And nationwide, the UN’s Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) is currently unable to ensure the availability of essential medicines, vaccines and medical inputs where it is needed most.

“The safety and well-being of all Haitians, especially the most vulnerable children, women and men, is our priority right now. A strong, well-equipped humanitarian assistance operation and safe access for humanitarian workers is therefore of utmost importance,” said Ulrika Richardson, adding that “the UN, along with its humanitarian partners, will continue to uphold the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence in the delivery of humanitarian assistance.”

For more information contact:

Daniel Dickinson, Office of the Resident Coordinator

UN entities involved in this initiative

International Organization for Migration
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Office for Project Services
World Food Programme

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