Taiwan ally Haiti pleads for humanitarian help

President Jovenel Moïse calls for global intervention and aid to rescue country from disaster

President Jovenel Moïse in Port-au-Prince

President Jovenel Moïse in Port-au-Prince (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Embattled Haitian President Jovenel Moïse is urging the world to pledge humanitarian aid to the Caribbean nation, which has been mired in months of anti-government protests and food insecurity issues.

The New York Times painted a bleak future for Haiti in an opinion piece earlier this month, with a crisis sparked by opposition to the rule of Moïse, who faces allegations of election rigging. The endless tumult has rendered Haitians homeless and helpless, in a society bogged down by corruption, inflation, and food shortages.

In an interview, Moïse told Reuters that closed-door talks are being held involving civil groups and members of the opposition, hoping to break the deadlock. However, major opposition parties have shown no interest in entering into a dialogue with the president.

“We are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis,” Reuters quoted him as saying. He pleaded with the international community to support the country as it is on the brink of collapse.

He said the acting government has asked the U.S. for help, including requesting 2,000 tons of food aid. More than 3.7 million people are desperately in need of food, the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) pointed out earlier this month.

Haiti has experienced a governmental void since March, when the opposition blocked a vote to ratify the president’s pick of prime minister. The dysfunctional government has forbidden the country’s access to international aid funds and loans, according to the report.

In May, Taiwan granted a loan of about US$150 million to Haiti for an electricity infrastructure project, prior to Jovenel Moise’s visit to the island nation. The move followed the switching of diplomatic allegiance to Beijing by Taiwan’s allies Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic.