At least 89 people have been killed in a week in clashes between gangs in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, where prices are rising and fuel shortages worsen, threatening vital humanitarian aid for residents .
“At least 89 people were killed and 16 others are missing,” the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights said in a statement. ,
Starting Thursday, automatic weapons detonations could be heard throughout the day in Soleil, the most deprived and densely populated city in the metropolitan area. There the two gangs clash, and the police, lacking men and equipment, do not intervene.
Thousands of families living there have no choice but to hide in their homes, unable to get water and food.
Some residents succumb to stray bullets inside their modest sheet-metal homes, but ambulances are not allowed into the area to help the injured.
“We call on all belligerents to give relief to Brooklyn (the name of the Cité Soleil district where violence is concentrated) and allow civilians to be spared,” Mumuja Muhindo, the head of mission for Doctors Without Borders, urged on Wednesday. ,
Although this has hindered its ability to evacuate victims, the humanitarian organization has managed to operate an average of about 15 wounded people per day since Friday at its hospital near Cité Soleil.
Mumuja Muhindo said, “Along the only road to Brooklyn, we encountered rotten or burnt corpses.” “It could be people killed in conflict or people trying to escape and who have been shot. It’s a real battlefield.”
These deadly clashes affected activities throughout the capital as the Cité Soleil is where the oil terminal supplying Port-au-Prince and the whole of northern Haiti is located.
Across the capital, service stations no longer deliver fuel, leading to a steep rise in prices on the black market.
Angry motorcyclist taxi drivers set up barricades on the main roads of Port-au-Prince on Wednesday, allowing only short motorized trips within the neighbourhood, AFP reporters told AFP.
Residents of the capital, who are already at risk of kidnapping, struggle with their daily activities.
For more than two years, the gangs have operated with impunity, kidnapping people of all socio-economic origins and all nationalities.
According to the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, there were at least 155 kidnappings in June, up from 118 in May, according to its latest report released on Wednesday.
deportation for kidnapping
If they can, Haitians flee to the Dominican Republic or the United States. If they don’t have money or visas, they risk their lives aboard makeshift boats hoping to reach Florida.
Many end up on the Cuban or Bahamian coasts or are intercepted at sea by the US Coast Guard.
According to data from the National Migration Office, more than 1,200 irregular migrants were returned to Haiti in the month of June.
Faced with the consequences of Ukraine’s war on the world economy, the inflation rate in Haiti, now around 20%, could exceed 30% by the end of the year, economists say.
“We are seeing a significant increase in hunger in the capital and the south of the country, with Port-au-Prince being the hardest hit,” Jean-Martin Bauer, director of the World Food Program (WFP), said on Tuesday.
To avoid the outskirts of Port-au-Prince and the gangs operating there, the United Nations agency uses air and sea routes to send aid to the south and north of the country.
According to the WFP, nearly half of the 11 million Haitians suffer from food insecurity, with 1.3 million facing a humanitarian emergency close to famine.
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