Haitians evacuate houses in Port-au-Prince as gang violence increases


In Port-au-Prince, thousands of Haitians have fled their homes due to the rising gang violence, which has claimed more than 2,400 lives so far this year.

The Carrefour-Feuilles district was taken over by gang members this week, according to the UN, and 5,000 people fled the area.

As government efforts to stop the violence failed, local aid organisations have suspended essential services.

A decision regarding the dispatch of a multinational force to assist in reestablishing order must be made by the UN Security Council soon.

In Carrefour-Feuilles and nearby areas, where there has been a lot of fighting between gangs for several months, many people were seen carrying suitcases or loading their cars with their belongings to leave.

A video from Reuters news agency showed women crying next to the body of a man who was murdered by gang members.

According to Reuters, a lot of people who were able to get away gathered at a nearby military base and asked for assistance in dealing with the gangs.

Haiti is one of the poorest and most-violent countries in the world due to many years of instability, disasters, and economic problems.

Gang fighting has increased a lot since President Jovenel Moïse was killed in 2021. This made many parts of the country not under the control of the government anymore.

The fighting over land has led to more people needing to leave their homes, not enough food to go around, many people being killed, people being taken against their will, and sexual crimes happening more often.

According to Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the UN rights office, this year, at least 2,439 Haitians have died, 902 have been hurt, and 951 have been taken by force.

She said that news from Haiti this week has shown that the violence against the people there is very brutal.

She said that people joined together to form vigilante groups to fight against the gangs, but unfortunately, these groups caused 350 individuals to be killed since April. Out of these, 310 were said to be members of a gang, and one of them was a police officer.

As per early information shared by a local rights group, 30 individuals lost their lives and more than a dozen were injured in assaults in the city on Thursday.

The US embassy, which has already sent home workers who are not needed urgently, shut down on Thursday because there was continuous shooting nearby.

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Haiti’s government said they will send all their people to bring back order to Carrefour-Feuilles. However, the police force that is not well-prepared has had difficulties in dealing with gangs who have a lot of weapons.

The International Red Cross said that within a few days, the level of violence increased significantly. This was especially true in the places where they were collaborating with local organizations.

The street barriers put up by fighting gangs were preventing people from getting assistance, it said.

Ann Lee, one of the founders of a crisis response group called CORE in the US, said that a lot of global organizations had left because of more and more threats and violence towards their employees.

Someone who works for us had a tragic event happen. Her daughter passed away because she had a sudden health problem and couldn’t reach the hospital in time. We have a worker whose brother was killed by cutting off his head.

Ms Lee said that every member of CORE’s team in Haiti personally knew someone who had been a victim of the violence.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a report on Tuesday that a strong military presence from multiple countries is necessary to bring back peace and take away weapons from the gangs.

Kenya has said that it is willing to take charge of such a group. The council will think about the issue in the next few weeks.


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