The Haitian government has requested international military assistance as it grapples with intertwined health, energy and security crises, according to a statement from Jean-Junior Joseph, adviser to the Haitian Prime Minister.
“After serious reflections, in the face of a serious humanitarian crisis in Haiti, where hospitals lack energy to operate, cholera is back in the barracks, it was decided in the Council of Ministers last night, October 7, to request international military assistance. community to deal with such an incredible humanitarian crisis,” read the statement sent to CNN on Thursday.
It was not clear which countries the government had requested military assistance from.
The request came after Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry appealed for international help during a televised address to the nation on Wednesday evening.
“I call on the international community to help us, to support us in any way necessary to prevent the situation from getting worse. We must be able to distribute water and medicine because cholera is making a comeback” , Henry said.
“We need to reopen businesses and clear roads so doctors and nurses can work. We are asking for their help to be able to distribute the fuel and for the school to reopen,” he added.
Dozens more cholera cases have been diagnosed in Haiti, adding new urgency to warnings of the Caribbean nation’s descent into chaos amid political and economic crises.
The deadly infection has already killed eight people, according to the Haitian Ministry of Health, and 68 new cases were identified in the first week of October according to the humanitarian medical group, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
The burgeoning new public health emergency could hardly come at a worse time.
Anti-government protests – now in their seventh week – have brought the country to a standstill, with schools, businesses and public transport across the country mostly closed. Since August 22, Haitians have been demonstrating against chronic gang violence, poverty, food insecurity, inflation and fuel shortages.
Their fury was further fueled last month when Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced he would cut fuel subsidies to fund the government – a move that would double prices at the pump. Powerful gangs in Haiti have exacerbated the fuel crisis by blockading the country’s main port in the capital Port-au-Prince.
Thousands of Haitians continue to demonstrate in various cities across the country, calling on the government to step down.
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