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Caritas SOS warns 8.1 million Haitians face food shortage

The head of Caritas Haiti has joined other non government organisations in the country in sending an alert to the international community about the humanitarian crisis that is accompanying Haiti's political upheaval.

In a declaration entitled Haiti, at the Edge of a Generalised 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 seeks support from the international community to protect the rights of the people and to stop the flow of arms into the country.

Caritas-Haiti director Wilnus Tilus and the other relief groups are also request that humanitarian interventions do everything they can to avoid fostering a mentality of dependence in the Haitian population.

Since early this month, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has been facing an anti-government movement supported by both peaceful opposition forces and armed insurgents.

Meanwhile bishops from the United States, Latin America and Canada have expressed their solidarity with the bishops of Haiti in a statement released on Monday during their annual inter-American meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

"Every day brings new accounts in our media about the violence that is afflicting Haitian society and causing additional harm to so many Haitian people, already afflicted by intense poverty and other social ills."

Half of Haiti Faces Food Shortage, Warns Caritas (Zenit 24/2/04)
North, South American bishops pledge solidarity with Haitian bishops

Haiti needs more aid, less U.S. meddling (National Catholic Reporter 27/2/04)
Chaos and fear grip Haiti capital (BBC 25/2/04)
Haiti background (Catholic Relief Services USA)
Haitian Bishops fear looming Civil War (18/2/04)
Church representative denounces "complete confusion" in the country (Aid to the Church in Need 13/2/04)

26 Feb 2004