NewsViolence displaces thousands in Haiti

Violence displaces thousands in Haiti

So far, Haiti seemed to have survived the corona crisis relatively well. But now a corona wave is overwhelming the health system and a gang war is coming to a head.

Port-au-Prince (AP) – In the midst of a severe corona wave, gang violence escalated in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince and drove thousands of people to flee. Since June 1, in particular, there have been numerous dead and injured, said the UN agency for the coordination of humanitarian aid (Ocha). The mayor of the suburb of Carrefour, Jude Édouard Pierre, warned on Wednesday on Radio Métropole that his community could no longer feed the many people who had fled there.

Hundreds of houses and small shops had caught fire, it was said of Ocha. The background is therefore fights between gangs for control of urban areas. The police are unable to provide security and protection. It is an open secret in the Caribbean country that politicians are joining forces with violent gangs that control parts of the country.

According to the first estimates, there are 5600 displaced people according to the UN. Many people, including children, fled to less dangerous parts of the city and now slept outdoors on the ground or sought refuge in makeshift accommodation – in churches and in a sports hall, for example. They urgently need humanitarian aid, including food and drinking water. In the affected areas themselves, violence and road blockades hindered the movement of people and goods – as well as aid deliveries.

Haiti is considered the poorest country in the western hemisphere. The UN Children’s Fund, Unicef, recently warned that, without urgent help, there would be an estimated 86,000 children under the age of five who would suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year.

The corona cases have also increased recently. The already overused health system quickly reaches its limits. The St. Luke Foundation clinic in Port-au-Prince, whose metropolitan area is estimated to have more than 2.5 million inhabitants, has 115 beds for patients with Covid-19 – a large part of the total number in the city . Last week, the foundation announced that the hospital was full. “Many people die on arrival in ambulances”.

Because of increased oxygen prices, the capacity of the clinic may also have to be reduced, it said. And: “We got a lot of nuns as patients. A sure sign that Covid is in the poorest areas. “

The official corona numbers in Haiti have so far been comparatively low – although many people there are densely packed and live in poor hygienic conditions. So far there have been around 16,000 infections and 342 deaths. The per capita death rate would be one of the lowest in the world. However, there is very little testing.

For a long time, however, many did not take the pandemic seriously. The government even refused delivery of the Astrazeneca vaccine in April on the grounds that the population might not accept it because of the thrombosis cases recorded in Europe. Haiti is one of the few countries that has not yet had any vaccine at all. A constitutional referendum planned for June 27 has now been postponed indefinitely because of the corona situation. This could worsen an existing government crisis and lead to more violence.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210610-99-931188 / 3

OCHA report

UNICEF announcement

St. Luke Foundation for Haiti report on their hospital

Carrefour Mayor at Radio Métropole

Notice of postponement of the referendum

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