Panama/Geneva, 20 February 2019 – More than 320,000 Swiss francs have been released from an International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) emergency fund to help the Haiti Red Cross Society respond to violent civil unrest in the country.
Large protests have been held across the country since the start of 2019, and a state of economic emergency was declared on 5 February.
IFRC has made 321,861 Swiss francs available from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Haiti Red Cross’ humanitarian operation, which will help 5,500 of the most vulnerable people affected by the crisis.
Walter Cotte, Director of IFRC’s Regional Office for the Americas, said: “Our priority is to ensure that the Haiti Red Cross is able to help as many people as possible with food, water and basic medical services during this emergency.
“The Haiti Red Cross is neutral and impartial, and its volunteers and staff are from the communities affected by the unrest. They are best placed to know where and how to help people in need, and have been actively responding since the outset.”
Haiti’s unrest began in October 2018 but has worsened in recent weeks, with a series of protests against the high cost of living and ongoing economic uncertainty. The country has struggled to recover from a series of devastating disasters and crises, including 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, an earthquake in October 2018, and cholera outbreaks. A major earthquake in January 2010 killed more than 200,000 people and devastated the capital Port-au-Prince.