Deaths in Haiti embargo put at 1,000 children a month

November 09, 1993|By New York Times News Service

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- An oil embargo and other sanctions designed to help restore democracy to Haiti are killing as many as 1,000 children each month, according to a Harvard University study.

"The human toll from the silent tragedy of humanitarian neglect has been far greater than either the violence or human rights abuses," says the study.

The study, entitled "Sanctions in Haiti: Crisis in Humanitarian Action," is due out this week.

Normally, nearly 3,000 children aged 5 or younger die in Haiti every month. According to the study, that figure has increased by about 1,000 each month. There are about a million children under the age of 5 in Haiti, which has a population of about 7 million.

The study also found that the embargo had contributed to as many as 100,000 new cases of moderate to severe malnutrition.

The Harvard report, like the assessments of relief organizations here, finds that the international embargoes, imposed, relaxed, then reimposed since the military coup, have ravaged this country.

The Harvard study found that from food production to the availability of drugs and vaccines, the impact of sanctions has been severe.

"Food and medicines are exempted from embargoes, so everyone assumes that everything will be all right," says Lincoln C. Chen, director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. "But what we have found is that even when they are not legally impeded, these kinds of things are xTC practically impeded."

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