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Fuel Shortages Cut Off Food Aid to North Haiti

January 01, 1994| Associated Press

GONAIVES, Haiti — Fuel shortages caused by a U.N. embargo have halted food aid shipments to northern Haiti, threatening hundreds of thousands of the nation's poorest and youngest people with severe hunger or even starvation.

Haiti's biggest food aid provider, U.S.-based CARE, had already dropped 115,000 people, mainly children, from a hot-food program because of previous delivery problems. On Thursday, it distributed its last grain and cooking oil supplies for another program that targeted 300,000 more people.

Warehouses in this central port are nearly empty. Supplies are dwindling for hundreds of CARE feeding centers now providing the main daily meal for 185,000 people, relief officials said.

The week-old halt in shipments to CARE has political overtones. The fuel embargo was imposed on Haiti to pressure its repressive army to yield power to elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, ousted in a 1991 coup.

But the army's rightist allies hope the suffering will instead weaken the international community's resolve, while Aristide and some U.N. nations argue that only tougher sanctions, albeit painful, will force the army from power.

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