Officials have described a "humanitarian catastrophe" in Haiti to the UN Security Council as the nation hits "new levels of desperation" after two weeks of violence and attacks on food aid warehouses.
Protests and looting have rocked the already unstable nation since 11 September, when Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced a fuel price hike, saying subsidies are too expensive for one of the world's poorest states.
"An economic crisis, a gang crisis, and a political crisis have converged into a humanitarian catastrophe," Haiti's UN envoy, Helen La Lime, said during an emergency council meeting.
"Before the current bout of civil unrest, some 4.9 million Haitians were in a state of humanitarian need. In the last two weeks alone, attacks on WFP (World Food Programme) have resulted in the loss of some 2,000 tonnes of food aid valued at close to $5 million, which would have collectively supported up to 200,000 of the most vulnerable Haitians over the next month," she charged.
She also said that the fuel terminal in Varreux has been in a "state of siege" for more than a week, blocked off by criminal gangs.
The fuel shortage affects the entire country's ability to function, Ms La Lime said, including hospitals closing.
WFP deputy executive director Valerie Guarnieri lamented the crisis in Haiti.
"Instead of the progress we were hoping for and dreaming of, today the situation in Haiti has sadly reached new levels of desperation," she told the council, noting that in less than a year, the price of a basic food basket has increased 52%.
"We expect food security to further deteriorate this year, surpassing the record high of 4.5 million people estimated to face crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity, including 1.3 million people in emergency," she said.
She added that the instability makes it both difficult and dangerous to implement the aid programme on the ground, particularly due to concerns about the looting of warehouses that held supplies for the 2022 hurricane season.
Haitian foreign affairs minister Jean Victor Geneus, who also attended the meeting, said that "except for isolated cases", the violence was "generally under control and calm has returned to several parts of the country".
He called for "robust support" from the international community for the Haitian police against armed gangs.
Haiti, which shares the mountainous Caribbean island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, has a population of more than 11 million. The Dominican Republic's population is 11 million.