Half of Haiti Faces Food Shortage, Warns Caritas

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, FEB. 24, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Relief workers warn that half of Haiti’s 8.1 million people are facing a food shortage.

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Amid a rebel uprising in the Caribbean nation, Caritas-Haiti director Wilnus Tilus and representatives of six other nongovernmental organizations alerted the international community about the crisis.

In a declaration entitled «Haiti, at the Edge of a Generalized Civil War,» the relief agency officials echo the «anguishing, alarming and critical character of the sociopolitical situation being experienced at present by the Haitian people.»

The appeal describes the atmosphere of terror that has taken over the country, and the systematic repression exercised both by the police forces as well as groups of armed civilians.

The declaration appeals for support from the international community to protect the rights of the people and to stop the flow of arms into the country.

Relief groups also request that humanitarian interventions do everything they can to avoid fostering a mentality of dependence in the Haitian population.

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has been facing an anti-government movement organized on one hand peacefully by the political opposition and civil society, and on the other by insurgent armed groups. More than 50 people have died since the upheaval started Feb. 5.

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