Assessment Of Humanitarian Needs In Northern Haiti
UN TEAM STARTS ASSESSMENT OF HUMANITARIAN NEEDS IN NORTHERN HAITI New York, Feb 19 2004 2:00PM
A United Nations team today begins assessing the humanitarian situation in two northern Haitian towns as unrest blocks access to parts of the troubled country, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
The 10-member mission was set to fly to the northeastern town of Cap Haitien and the northwestern town of Port-de-Paix.
The mission, along with the UN country team, has established a task force to coordinate the work of UN agencies and their partners, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and CARE, which have entered the strategic town of Gonaives with emergency supplies
The current political crisis started in Gonaives, which is also the site of several other key historical developments in the Caribbean country.
Health care in Haiti is a major concern, according to OCHA. Several hospitals have been targeted by protesters and the University Hospital of Port-au-Prince has not functioned for several weeks. Private hospitals have been operating, but they are overwhelmed by the demand, while soaring costs are beyond the means of the many poor people in need.
Transportation and distribution problems have also affected the food supply nationwide, OCHA said. During this month, the World Food Programme (WFP) needs to deliver 1,400 tons of cereals to its warehouses in Cap Haitien in the north and Bombardopolis in the northwest to help 268,000 people in those areas.
Universities have been closed since 5 December and other schools have opened only intermittently, OCHA said.
For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news