News Alerts

17 Feb 2019 | 06:15 PM UTC

Haiti: Severe food and water shortages reported amid unrest Feb. 17 /update 16

Haiti News Alert

Severe shortages of food, water, medicine, and fuel ongoing nationwide Feb. 17 as severe unrest continues; hostage situation reported in Port-au-Prince Sunday morning; further protests and incidents of unrest expected in the coming days

TIMEFRAME expected from 2/17/2019, 12:00 AM until 2/21/2019, 11:59 PM (America/Port-au-Prince). COUNTRY/REGION Port-au-Prince, Haiti

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Anti-government protests continue nationwide as of Sunday, February 17, with thousands calling for the indictment and resignation of President Jovenel Moïse. Local sources indicate a hostage situation is ongoing in Port-au-Prince on Sunday morning (local time) at a shopping center located on Delmas 29; a heavy police presence has been reported. Further details are not currently available.

The Toussaint Louverture International Airport (PAP) in the capital is still operating as of February 17. Many foreign governments continue to facilitate the evacuation of tourists and foreign nationals due to the precarious security situation. 

Opposition figures have called for intensified protests and roadblocks from Monday, February 18. While the government has reportedly facilitated some delivering of food from ports of entry on Sunday morning, widespread and severe shortages of food, water, and fuel persist. According to local reports, many hospitals are unable to provide adequate care due to electricity and medicine shortages. 

Nationwide business disruptions continue amid widespread looting and property destruction. Roadblocks are in place in several parts of major cities and national roads. Security forces continue to deploy reinforcements to protect banks, government offices, court buildings, and utility installations. Further demonstrations and significant transportation disruptions are expected to continue in Port-au-Prince and throughout the country over the coming days. Clashes between security forces and protesters are likely.


Violent demonstrations, known as "Operation lock down Haiti," have been taking place on a daily basis since February 7, with demonstrators erecting roadblocks, burning tires, and throwing rocks at security forces nationwide.

At least eight people have been killed in the demonstrations, with dozens of others suffering injuries. On February 9, a United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) armored personnel carrier accidentally collided with a collective taxi, killing four people in the Canapé Vert area of Port-au-Prince and further exacerbating social unrest. US diplomatic authorities ordered the departure of all of its non-emergency personnel and their family members on February 15, due to widespread and violent unrest ongoing throughout the island, notably in the capital Port-au-Prince, with other foreign missions following suit. 

Numerous demonstrations have been staged in recent months to call for greater government transparency after several public officials, including President Jovenel Moïse, were implicated in a scandal related to the alleged misuse of PetroCaribe funds. Violent protests took place in late 2018, with gunfire, roadblocks, and mob violence reported across the country.


Individuals in Haiti are advised to keep abreast of the situation, strictly avoid all protests and associated roadblocks due to the likelihood of violence, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments (e.g. travel restrictions). Be prepared to shelter in place in the event of prolonged civil unrest (e.g. stockpile supplies of preserved foods and fresh water).


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