The Dominican Republic has approved a request by a trading firm to export 20,500 gallons of diesel to Haiti for use principally in hospitals, according to letters seen by Reuters, as gangs continue blocking a key fuel terminal in Haiti.
Fuel shortages created by the gang blockade have left Haitian hospitals without diesel to power their generators, which are the only way they can ensure consistent electricity due to chronic outages in Haiti's power grid.
Most hospitals have curtailed or halted operations in recent weeks, just as the country is facing a cholera outbreak on top of a humanitarian crisis driven by shortages of food and water.
A firm called AFA Trading in an Oct. 17 letter to the Dominican industry ministry sought permission to export the fuel via the land border between the two countries, with the intent of supplying three hospitals and one manufacturing facility.
The industry ministry approved the request in a separate letter of the same date seen by Reuters. The letters describe the operation as a re-export, indicating the fuel in question was originally imported to the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican industry ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reuters was unable to obtain comment from AFA Trading.
Haiti is facing acute fuel shortages due to a blockade by a coalition of gangs that are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. The United Nations has discussed sending a military force to confront the gangs and reopen the terminal.
The fuel shortages have halted almost all economic activity, grinding most transportation to a halt and forcing many hospitals to shut down or curtail their operations.