World Food Program (WFP) food supplies in Haiti, which has been experiencing a sharp escalation of gang violence since March, are at risk of running out by the end of this month, the UN agency warned on Thursday, underscoring the need to regain access to the main port.

The WFP said in a statement that it had stepped up food aid in recent weeks, distributing food to feed more than half a million people in the country since the new wave of violence erupted in March.

But despite efforts to prioritize supply from local producers, the PEP is “concerned about the risk of food stocks running out around the end of April,” according to the statement.

While the month-long closure of the Haitian capital’s main port and main airport is preventing “aid from arriving,” the PEP’s stockpiles are enough to feed 175,000 people for about a month.

“The PEP is doing everything possible to help the most vulnerable, but at the current rate, we will have exhausted our reserves at the end of April. The port of the capital must be reopened immediately to allow resupply,” insisted Jean-Martin Bauer, the director of the PEP’s office in Haiti, while calling for its “unimpeded access” to the entire country.

The risk of depleting stocks comes at a time when food insecurity in the poorest Caribbean country is at levels not seen since the devastating 2010 earthquake, the PEP said.

According to the latest Integrated Food Security Framework (IPC) report, released in March, the situation has worsened in the country, with nearly 5 million people, in other words almost half the population, in a state of severe food insecurity, from of which 1.64 million are at level 4 (state of emergency) on the five-point scale.

Some 125,000 children are at risk of acute malnutrition.

At the same time, the UN humanitarian response plan in Haiti for 2024, costed at 674 million dollars, has secured only 7% of the required funding.

In late February, powerful gangs, which control most of the capital Port-au-Prince, joined forces and began launching attacks on police stations, prisons, the international airport and the main port, with the stated goal of driving out de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henri.

The latter announced on March 11 that he would resign, leaving to a transitional council the task of naming his official successor. But the formation of this transitional council has not yet been completed.

“Gang violence prevents Haitians from accessing health facilities in Port-au-Prince,” Stéphane Dujarric, the UN Secretary-General’s representative, said yesterday, stressing that a university hospital, the largest still operating, has ” overwhelmed’, while ambulances face ‘difficulty reaching gang-controlled areas’.