UNITED NATIONS ( Associated Press) – Nearly 60 percent of Haiti’s capital is under the control of gangs whose violence and sexual assaults have driven thousands of people from their homes, Ulrika Richardson, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Caribbean nation, said Thursday. Told.
Richardson said some 20,000 people in the capital were facing “horrible famine-like conditions” as the cholera outbreak spread across Haiti.
The official described a bleak picture in the crisis-hit country with half its population in need of urgent food aid and the cholera death toll rising to 283. Some 12,000 people have been hospitalized because of the disease since October 2, and there are currently more than 14,000 suspected cases of cholera in eight of the country’s 10 regions, he said.
Richardson said 19,000 of Haiti’s 20,000 people facing famine conditions are in the capital Port-au-Prince, a mainly gang-controlled site in the Soleil neighborhood. The official said the insecurity has led to “massive displacement”, especially in the capital, where 155,000 people have fled their homes.
In a press conference, he explained that gangs were using “very appalling levels of sexual violence as a weapon” to control, instill fear and punish the population.
Richardson commented that the infighting between gangs and their criminal activities is tearing society apart and increasing insecurity.
Political instability in the country has been on the rise since the still-unsolved assassination of President Jovenel Moose in July last year, when the president faced protests demanding his resignation over corruption charges against him.
Daily life in Haiti began to spiral out of control in September, with prices doubling just hours after Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced an end to gasoline subsidies. A gang led by Jimmy “Barbecue” Charizier, a former police officer, blocks the way to the Varex fuel terminal, causing a crisis.
The United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on Chérizier on 21 October, and he announced on 6 November that his G9 Gang Federation would lift the blockade.
But Richardson said the humanitarian, security and political situation was worsening despite the availability of fuel, declaring that “everyone is affected by the violence.”