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UN Humanitarian Flight Takes Vital Medical Supplies To Haiti

31 May 2024

On Thursday, a humanitarian flight operated by the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flew from Panama to Haiti – specifically the Port-au-Prince airport – for the first time in three months, according to Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

The international airport had been closed due to rampant gang violence in the country.

The flight carried nearly 15 metric tonnes of medicine and medical supplies to be added to the resources of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Mr. Dujarric said this will “support critical, lifesaving operations as insecurity continues to restrict people's access to healthcare, mainly in the metropolitan area of the capital Port-au-Prince and in the Artibonite department.”

Funding shortfall

The Secretary-General’s spokesperson said that local non-governmental organizations along with WHO are providing many services to displaced civilians, including “screening for malnutrition, cholera prevention and as well as psychosocial support.”

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Mr. Dujarric said he hopes that the gradual opening of the airport in Haiti will allow more supplies to be transported; he said that donor support is needed.

A humanitarian response plan for the country requires $674 million but only 21 per cent of the funds – $142 million – has been received, he added.

Multinational Security Support

Meanwhile, UNICEF is warning about child recruitment by armed groups in Haiti, the Secretary-General’s spokesperson said.

Reportedly, 30 to 50 per cent of members of armed groups are children, subjecting them to “coercion, abuse and exploitation stemming from persistent social, economic and political fragility caused by the ongoing violence that has spiralled parts of the country into chaos.”

The Haitian Ministries of Justice, Education and Labor and Social Affairs are working to facilitate the reintegration of young people who had previously belonged to armed groups in hopes this will safeguard their well-being.

Mr. Dujarric said that UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for the prompt deployment of the Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission to Haiti to assist local police in addressing security situations.

He said that Mr. Guterres calls on Member States to ensure the MSS is financially and logistically supported appropriately.

Mr. Dujarric said children being a part of armed groups in Haiti gives reason to quickly deploy the MSS.

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