PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Unrest in Haiti has disrupted hospitals, orphanages and emergency services while keeping some 2 million children from school, the United Nations said Wednesday.
The warning from U.N. spokesman Stephane Djuarric came as there was a relative pause in disturbances that have wracked Haiti’s capital for weeks as protesters have tried to drive President Jovenel Moïse from power. People once again stood in line to buy gasoline and some banks and businesses cautiously reopened, despite a scattered of roadblocks formed by burning tires.
“Fuel shortages, lack of safe water and other essentials are also affecting orphanages, civil protection units and other emergency services, which are also functioning with limited capacity,” Dujarric said at the United Nations.
In addition, with many schools closed for the past two weeks, an estimated 2 million children have no access to education, he said.
Dujarric said U.N. humanitarian officials warned that the disturbances threaten to worsen hunger in one of the hemisphere’s poorest nations.
The embattled president has kept largely out of the public eye in recent days, but has given no indication that he will step down.
As the standoff continues, Haitians wonder who will yield first: the protesters or the president.
One opposition leader, André Michel, told The Associated Press Wednesday that his coalition is calling for removing both parliament and the president in a wholesale renovation of the country’s political institutions. He said his group has created a commission meant to oversee a transfer of power and create some sort of body to replace the current parliament.
While parliamentary elections are scheduled for Oct. 27, postponement seems inevitable, adding to the sense of stalemate.
“It’s a dramatic situation, a chaotic situation,” said Evans Paul, a former prime minister and Moïse ally who privately discussed the crisis Monday with the Core Group, which includes officials from the United Nations, United States, Canada, France and others.
Paul told The Associated Press that those present did not say whether Moïse should remain in power or resign, but dialogue, voiced support for Haiti’s institutions and defended democratic principles.
Moïse was elected in 2017 for a five-year term, though turnout was extremely low and the 14-month election cycle was plagued by allegations of fraud that forced a re-do some a first-round vote.
Paul said he believes Moïse has two options: choose a prime minister backed by the opposition or possibly reduce the length of his presidential term. However, Paul said many problems remain, including the lack of a provisional electoral commission to oversee any vote. Continue reading