MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Lifesaving food is loaded up and ready to be shipped out to people in the Haiti quake zone from the Food for the Poor warehouse. But getting food to them has been very difficult because of a fuel shortage and gang violence.
“Last week we were unable to get anything out,” said Mario Nicoleau.
Nicoleau is the chief operating officer for Food for the Poor in Haiti. He explains gangs cut off access to fuel, which halted nearly everything in the country. But late Friday, the gangs agreed to a truce until the 18th.
“We were able to receive a good refueling about 7,000 gallons of fuel, otherwise we would be shut down by Wednesday,” he said.
Now trucks are being loaded quickly to get them on the road. Food for the Poor expects they have enough gas to last a month.
“We’ve fueled up some trucks. We got out about nine container trucks to the north for needed distribution. We’re working to hopefully be able to deliver to the southern peninsula,” Nicoleau said.
When that food doesn’t get out, the consequences are devastating.
“Is it a matter of something as simple as if you don’t get those shipments out, people just don’t eat?” CBS4’s Ted Scouten asked.
“For us, yes,” said Nicoleau, “that’s exactly what it is.”
Mark Khouri is the chief operating officer of Food for the Poor.
“I expect after the 18th the gang members will continue to do their activity of shooting, kidnapping and preventing people from getting access to fuel,” he fears.
Food for the Poor is the largest of its kind in Haiti. He told CBS4 the food and development programs they provide are critical for survival.
“There’s 4.3 million people that are food insecure, of that 1.3 million people are at the point of famine or death, to the point where they won’t be able to survive,” he said.