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March 20, 2024 (EIRNS)—In a lengthy article published today, Associated Press appropriately addressed the crises in Gaza and in Haiti together. These are not “natural” disasters but the result of man-made genocidal warfare. AP notes that “In Gaza, virtually every resident is struggling to get enough food and 1.1 million people—half the population—are expected to face the highest level of severe hunger in coming weeks, according to a report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, an agency that monitors hunger globally.… In Haiti, about 1.4 million people are on the verge of famine and more than 4 million need help accessing food, aid groups say.”

Tobias Stillman, director of technical services and innovation at the Action Against Hunger aid group tells AP: “When families and entire nations live so close to the brink, it is all too easy for conflict or other shocks to push them into catastrophe.” Death from starvation can come “surprisingly quickly,” Stillman said.

In Haiti, UNICEF reports, children are being denied urgently-needed medical supplies because armed gangs operating at the main Port-au-Prince port looted 17 UNICEF containers containing urgently needed medical supplies for mothers and children, including resuscitators, water equipment, etc. The port is also a lifeline for supplies of food and when gangs have looted containers or blocked access, nothing can be distributed either to the city or the rest of the country. Currently, 260 humanitarian-owned containers are controlled by armed groups at the port.

Haiti’s healthcare system is on the verge of collapse, and UNICEF’s Haiti country director Bruno Maes reports that three out of four women and children have no access to basic health and nutrition interventions in Port-au-Prince’s metropolitan area. Gangs target hospitals, forcing them to close and often looting them. There are only two functional surgical operating facilities available in the capital. “We are witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe and there is little time left to reverse it,” Maes warns. In all of Haiti, six of ten hospitals aren’t functional, due to lack of electricity, fuel and medical supplies, limiting emergency attention available to children.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) spokeswoman Dr. Margaret Harris reported to media in Geneva that in Gaza, “what doctors and medical staff are telling us is more and more they are seeing the effects of starvation; they’re seeing newborn babies dying because they (are) too low birth weight,” UN News reported March 19. Dr. Harris warned “increasingly, we’re seeing children that are at the point, the brink of death that need refeeding.” Moreover, she said, medical teams in Gaza are admitting increasing numbers of dangerously underweight pregnant women, which can lead to serious complications. “This is entirely man-made, everything we’re seeing medically,” Dr. Harris affirmed. “This was a territory where the health system functioned well.” Malnutrition was “non-existent. It was a population that could feed itself.”