March 20, 2024

Dear Lamp supporters,

This is the second in a series of updates on the crisis in Haiti.

Unfortunately, the security situation in Port-au-Prince continues to deteriorate.  Gang activities have greatly increased in the wealthier area of the city, known as Petionville.  There is a strong police presence at the international airport but gangs have not withdrawn and continue to surround the area.  Areas close to Lamp’s service centers are becoming the targets of more activity.  

Unfortunately the rest of the country is also facing a crisis, namely a food security crisis.  All goods coming into the country via the ports, airports, and land routes are now subject to gang control, and many traders are simply waiting for security to return.  In previous times, perhaps 50% of foodstuffs were imported from the Dominican Republic but significant problems at the border have greatly impacted this trade.  In September 2023, the DR government closed the border due to a political dispute (involving use of the river — that comprises the physical border — for irrigation).  Over time, some trade resumed but there are now fears that the border will again be sealed completely.  The DR has greatly increased its military presence at the border crossings due to security concerns.  Even now, the amount of goods coming over the border is a tiny proportion of its previous level. 

At Lamp, we continue to prepare for the day when we can re-open both of our service locations.  We are taking the time to update our electronic medical record system and to review each aspect of our programming.  Dr. Metellus, our In-Country Medical Director, writes: “Despite the security situation we are not idle because we continue to develop our plans in order to provide a high standard of health care to this poor population left to its own devices and facing a disastrous health situation.  Also, we continue to improve our patient registration system to be able to optimize our patient-centered care.  We continue to hope for a rapid resolution of this situation in order to continue serving this population, thirsty for health care.  Haiti will not perish!!”

I will just add, because many have asked, a word about our staff.  As late as two weeks ago, our service location at Haiti Communitere was open and functioning.  Most of our staff were able to leave their homes and travel to work.  But each day, some of them experienced difficulties.  Some of these difficulties were extreme.  Salita, one of our Community Health Workers, had her (tiny) home burned and belongings taken.  Benoit, our Program Manager, was forced to move, as the area he lived in became the center of a gang conflict.  Others have been threatened and robbed.  We are very relieved to say, however, that none has been hurt.  We hope, fervently, that this will remain the case until the end of this crisis.    

In closing, please do consider a donation – either now or when we launch our Spring Appeal in April – because we are determined to mount as vigorous a response as we can to this disaster.  And a crisis like this does not make expenses less.  For example, for more than a year now we have been unable to get donated medicines into the country due to the security situation.  We have, somewhat amazingly, been able to purchase medicines in-country, but those are also much more expensive than in the past.  The need for our services is exponentially bigger than before – we must push forward!

adminMarch 20, 2024