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CRISIS UPDATE: Severe gas shortage, mass protests

Classrooms remain empty this week at Pwoje Espwa due to heightened unrest across Haiti.

What’s going on in Haiti?

Tensions are growing across Haiti after weeks of severe fuel shortages have reignited protests and opposition to the president.

Last year, the United States imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela, forcing them to end their oil-for-loans deal (known as PetroCaribe) with developing Caribbean nations, including Haiti. With the end of the PetroCaribe deal, Haiti has turned to the US oil market (read more about what it is and why it’s fueling protests here).

Why It Matters…

  • With fuel no longer subsidized for citizens and not enough supply, massive price spikes and an active black market for fuel have individuals paying up to US$10.50 per gallon.

  • Citizens who rely on gas for transportation, electricity, commerce, and other essential activities are forced to wait in lines for hours and get frustrated and angry; the opposition is taking to the streets.

  • In major cities and smaller communes burning tires and debris litter the streets. Major protests broke out on Monday. Many continue to call for the impeachment of President Jovenel Moise.

  • This past week, the country experienced a widespread lockdown, with schools and businesses closed, major roadways blocked by burning tires, and economic activities halted.

How does this impact the children at Pwoje Espwa?

Due to the increase in protests, violence and gang activity, schools all over the country were closed most of the week, including our schools at Pwoje Espwa. Creating dysfunction is a goal for the protestors and opposition who believe that operating schools indicate a functioning government.

With protest activity high in Les Cayes and the surrounding communities, school administrators and PES directors decided to keep schools closed this week. PES security officers have been vigilant on campus, taking all precautions necessary to keep resident children safe.

Child Development and Child Care staff have been keeping the children busy with various activities since they cannot be in the classrooms.

With continued disruption, a recurring fuel shortage, and prices of goods still extremely high, we are doing our best to keep our programs operating. While we plan for emergencies and times of crisis access to the markets for food and supplies continues to be difficult.

What can you do to help?

  • Pray for the safety of our resident and non-resident children, families in our surrounding communities, staff and their families.

  • Make a donation to help us navigate the fluctuating instability of the economy and keep our children safe and cared for.

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