Haiti (MNN) — The United Nations says fuel shortages in Haiti threaten the lives of critical care patients. Due to frequent power cuts, most hospitals rely on fuel-powered generators to keep patients alive.
Last week, local business owners blamed gangs for worsening the fuel crisis by blocking roads and gas distribution stations. Hundreds of motorcycles zoomed through Port-au-Prince as the drivers yelled, “If there’s no fuel, we’re going to burn it all down!” the Associated Press reports.
“The price of gas is very high. People are pooling their resources and buying 55-gallon drums of gasoline, and then storing them in their houses,” For Haiti With Love’s Eva DeHart says,
Along with using fuel for their purposes, Haitians portion the gas into smaller containers and sell them for a profit. Unfortunately, many “sellers” end up paying more than they bargained for in the process.
“The process of storing that gas is very volatile. [We see many] people who have severe gasoline burns” coming into the burn clinic, De Hart says.
“One guy is selling gasoline next to a man who’s working on his radiator in the street,” she says, describing a recent burn accident.
“Another car comes along and hits the gas; the gas spills on the guy working on the radiator, and now he’s on the burn table [at the clinic] with both arms, both legs, and his face [severely burned]. Gasoline fires are painful, and [the burns] go deep.”
Believers offer healing and hope
For Haiti With Love began its medical clinic years ago to provide low-income families in Cap-Haïtien with access to free medical care. In Haiti, burns are a common injury, but “usually the burns are [caused by] little kids pulling food off the table” or getting too close to open fire, De Hart says.
Now, adult burn victims are starting to overwhelm the staff at For Haiti’s clinic. Believers work hard to keep up with increased demand, but supplies are beginning to run low.
“We’re going to have to reorder supplies a whole lot quicker than we anticipated because practically everybody coming in [to the clinic] is an adult with major burns,” De Hart says.
Believers pray with every burn victim. Plus, long treatment time opens the door for conversations about Christ. “They are, a lot of them, hearing it (the Gospel message) for the first time,” De Hart says.
“You’re dealing with people who don’t have much exposure to the Church or to the Gospel, so it is fresh material to them.”
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Gab Pili/Unsplash.