Securing road access for humanitarian convoys part of UN response in Haiti

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Staff members of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) work to load 25 trucks with relief materials destined for the western region of Haiti. UN Photo/Logan Abassi

A convoy loaded with food, non-food items and a "massive" water purification system left Haiti's capital on Wednesday for some of the areas hit by Hurricane Matthew.

It's part of UN efforts to support the country as it emerges from the category 4 storm that hit a week ago, killing upwards of 400 people and affecting more than a million.

The UN recently launched a US$120 million appeal for Haiti where the hurricane has caused the largest humanitarian emergency since the 2010 earthquake.

Dianne Penn reports.

The convoy's departure marked the second time in two days that the 26 trucks have headed from the capital, Port-au-Prince, to hurricane-ravaged areas according to the deputy chief at the UN mission in the country, MINUSTAH, who briefed journalists in New York on Wednesday.

Mourad Wahba said efforts have focused on opening up roads to allow humanitarian aid to reach those in need.

He added that the mission has also boosted its engineering capacity in south-west Haiti, where UN agencies and aid groups have established bases in order to access hard-to-reach areas.

"We have reinforced, therefore, our engineering capacity in Les Cayes and Jérémie, and we're providing security to the humanitarian convoys. You understand that as humanitarian convoys are moving along these axes, populations that have not been reached by relief are angry. They are looking for food and we need to ensure that this food is secure so it gets to its destination."

Meanwhile, UN police officers have been distributing water, water purification tablets and related items to help limit the spread of disease.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'16"

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