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Haiti to seek foreign military assistance to combat gangs, official says

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Haiti has decided to request military assistance from the international community, a Haitian official said on Friday, as a gang blockade of the country’s main fuel port has led to crippling shortages and a growing humanitarian crisis.

Haiti has ground to a halt since a coalition of gangs blocked the Varreux fuel terminal last month. The lack of gas and diesel has crippled transportation and forced businesses and hospitals to halt operations.

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It has also led to a shortage of bottled water, just as the country confirmed a new outbreak of cholera, the spread of which is controlled through hygiene and clean water.

“It was decided in the Council of Ministers last night … to request military assistance to the international community to deal with such an unbelievable humanitarian crisis,” a spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Henry wrote in a text message.

The news was first reported by the Miami Herald.

It was not immediately evident which nations would receive such a request.

The United Nations on Thursday called for the creation of a “humanitarian corridor” to allow for fuel distribution, and Henry on Wednesday made a broad plea for help from the international community without specifically asking for military aid. (Reporting by Brian Ellsworth in Miami; Editing by Mark Potter and Bill Berkrot)

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