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A UNICEF container in Haiti filled with essential items for maternal, neonatal, and child survival were stolen Saturday as the country continues to spiral into chaos amid ongoing gang violence. 

UNICEF said one of its 17 containers was looted at a port in the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince. The stolen items included resuscitators and related equipment critical for early childhood development and education, UNICEF said. 

“Depriving children of vital health supplies amidst a collapsing healthcare system is a violation of their rights. This incident occurs at a critical moment when children need them the most,” said Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representative in Haiti in a statement. “Looting of supplies that are essential for life-saving support for children must end immediately and humanitarian access must remain safe.” 

Haiti has been mired in chaos for weeks as gangs have attacked key institutions and shut down the main international airport. The chaos has pushed many Haitians to the brink of famine and left many more in increasingly desperate conditions.


The violence has left Haiti’s government in a state of turmoil and prompted Prime Minister Ariel Henry to pledge that he will resign, a key demand of the gangs.

UNICEF said the violence has worsened children’s access to an already crumbling healthcare system supported by UNICEF supplies. 

Armed gang member

In Port-au-Prince, hospitals have been vandalized and forced to close, leaving only two functional surgical operating facilities available. Across the country, only four out of 10 hospitals are functional. 

Also on Saturday, Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry said that the offices of its honorary consul in Haiti were ransacked, but didn’t give any details of damage or thefts, nor did it say who was responsible.

The ministry said only “paperwork and documentation of the last four or five years had been previously transferred” to the Guatemalan Embassy for Haiti, located in the neighboring Dominican Republic.

The United States had flown in military forces to beef up security at the American Embassy and seemingly quash speculation that senior U.S. government officials might be leaving.

While Haiti’s main airport in Port-au-Prince remains closed following gang attacks, the U.S. State Department said it would be offering limited charter flights for American citizens from the less chaotic northern city of Cap-Haïtien. But it warned that U.S. citizens should consider the flights “only if you think you can reach Cap-Haïtien airport safely.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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