World Food Program, Kevin De Leon, Haiti discussed on Morning Edition


But in Boyle heights, for example, which is a largely Latino working class neighborhood in de Leon's district, the median income there, according to the latest census figures available, is about $44,000 a year, and about 26% of people are living in poverty. And then in Chinatown, which is in Gil se dio's district, the median income household is less than $50,000. But they're still collecting this pay, so what if anything would force them out? It really doesn't seem like that's going to happen. Kevin de Leon, who has had people protesting outside of his office and even people camped out in front of his home. He went on television and flat out said he's not resigning. He said that that would be the easy way out that in order to do the real work of healing. He needs to stay. And he's got another two years left in his term, so that's about $568,000 in salary and pension. Meanwhile, Gil se dio was actually already on his way out. His term ends mid December. Officially, he said through a spokesperson that he remains, quote, at a place of reflection and if he waits it out at $18,000 a month, that adds up to a minimum of $36,000 in salary. Plater of election, okay, but is there any way to force them out? No, they can not be forced out. The only thing that could happen is a recall election, but other than that, there's no way to push them out. And Pierre Vanessa Romo, thanks so much. Thank you, Steve. Haiti is now in the 6th week of a fuel blockade by armed gangs in the capital of Port-au-Prince. That's making a hunger crisis in the country more dire by the day. Yeah, the Haitian health ministry says the number of suspected cases of cholera as nearly doubled in the past few days and is now close to 2000. NPR's 8 are Peralta is in port a prince and he joins us now good morning Ada. Good morning, Leila. So I understand you spoke to officials from the World Food Program there in Haiti. What are they saying? I spoke to Jean Martin Bauer, the country director for WFP. And he paints a dire picture. He says that in some areas that are currently under gang control to mothers are heating up water with salt for dinner. That's all they have. A study that the BFP did found that 19,000 people are facing catastrophic levels of hunger. And that's a technical designation. The worst level of hunger before a famine is declared, and that is the first time it has happened in Haiti, or in the Americas. I pushed Bauer, telling him that if this is such an extraordinary situation, then why have we seen so little presence of the WFP in Port-au-Prince? And he said that they're doing their best. Let's listen. Yes, we need to do more. What would be very hard for us to do more when armed groups hold the fuel port. When the roads of the borders are controlled by armed groups, when my staff can't come to the office because they're being threatened of being attacked or raped or burned. There's only so much that can be done in this kind of environment. So we're doing our best and we're hoping that we'll have the opportunity to support the Haitian population and security and dignity. So it's not safe for a lot of people to try to help. I know the U.S. and Canada sent to big plane loads of security equipment to the Haitian police earlier this month has that changed anything. The armored vehicles that were sent haven't made it out to the street. So not much has changed. When we're in downtown Port-au-Prince, we can hear the gunfire coming from the neighborhoods that are under gang control. The people we've spoken to who live there say they live through daily gun battles that they have to risk their lives to go to work or to go to the supermarket and yesterday the violence hit the journalism for fraternity. One of the most well-known journalists in Haiti, Robertson alfons survived the assassination attempt. Alfons is known as a sharp critic of the government because and because he drew a connection between public officials and criminal gangs, he was driving to his radio show when gunmen opened fire, they fired at least ten bullets, alfons was hit several times. He was helped by people on the streets. He was taken to the hospital and luckily friends tell us that he's in stable condition. Wow. And what is the government saying about all this? That much? We've been asking for an interview over and over with the acting prime minister or anyone at his office. And we have heard nothing. But more importantly, the people of Haiti have heard nothing. We're now going on almost 6 weeks of this fuel blockade, and the prime minister has not spoken to the nation. So the government at the moment seems almost completely absent prime minister Henri did call for an international intervention, but that also seems stalled. At this point, it seems unlikely that the UN will even vote on the matter this week. NPR's Ada Peralta reporting from

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