Distribution of Aid in Haiti's Southern Peninsula Resuming Slowly

Catholic Relief Services
Friday, 5 March 2004

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has resumed relief operations on a limited basis in Haiti's southern peninsula city of Les Cayes. Ongoing violence and insecurity on the nation's roads continues to paralyze the distribution of aid throughout the country.

The delivery of food and medicines comes at a critical time for the most vulnerable in Les Cayes, where CRS-supported projects care for orphans, the elderly, people living with HIV/AIDS and the handicapped. In addition, the agency has provided cash to partners for the purchase of locally available goods. Earlier in the week, CRS received a $412,000 grant from USAID/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance to provide emergency cash disbursements to support groups in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and throughout the country's southern peninsula.

"This is a small step in the right direction, but we need to be able to reach beyond the Les Cayes urban area," said Jed Hoffman, CRS Regional Director for Latin America. "Living conditions have continued to deteriorate in the last few days despite the arrival of international peacekeepers. The government, the political opposition, the armed Haitian groups and the international forces in the capital and other towns around the country must work together to restore civil order so people can get back to work and CRS can get help to those who are being hit the hardestólike orphans, street kids, the disabled and HIV/AIDS patients."

CRS has worked in Haiti for 50 years, providing assistance in the areas of food security, HIV/AIDS care, safety net programs, civil society, health, water and sanitation, education and agriculture.

For more information, or to contact Catholic Relief Services, see their website at: www.catholicrelief.org

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