Haiti’s government has asked for international military assistance as it grapples with interlocked health, energy and security crises, according to a statement from Jean-Junior Joseph, advisor to Haiti’s Prime Minister.
“After serious reflections, facing a dire humanitarian crisis in Haiti, where hospitals are not having enough energy to function, cholera is back inside the shanties, it was decided in the Council of Ministers last night, October 7th to request military assistance from the international community to deal with such unbelievable humanitarian crisis,” reads the statement sent to CNN on Thursday.
It was not clear which countries the government requested military assistance from.
The request came after Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry called for international help during a televised speech to the nation on Wednesday night.
“I am calling the international community to help us, to support us in every necessary way to avoid the situation worsening. We need to be able to distribute water, and medicine as cholera is making a comeback,” said Henry.
“We need to reopen businesses and clear the roads for doctors and nurses to be able to do work. We asking for their help to be able to distribute the fuel and for school to reopen,” he added.
Dozens more cases of cholera 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 Haiti’s health ministry, and 68 new cases have been identified in the first week of October according to the medical humanitarian 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 paralyzed the country, with schools, businesses, and public transportation across the country mostly shuttered. 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 that he would cut fuel subsidies in order to fund the government – a move that would double prices at the pump. Haiti’s powerful gangs have exacerbated the fuel crisis by blocking the country’s main port in the capital city Port-au-Prince.
Thousands of Haitian people continue to protest in various cities across the country, calling on the government to step down.