The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that around 1,000 people have left their homes in Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti, in the past three days as the violence escalated due to the clash between criminal organizations .
“Deadly clashes between rival gangs in the greater Port-au-Prince area have increased in recent weeks, fueling a widespread feeling of insecurity and having dramatic consequences for the civilian population,” said the latest OCHA report.
The United Nations Office has reported that these episodes of violence resulted in the displacement of around 5,600 people in the past year. The report states that the police are “often” unable to guarantee the necessary security, “the population is left to its own devices”.
Many of those affected are children who have fled to less dangerous parts of the city and have to sleep on the streets without help or, at best, in emergency shelters such as churches and gyms.
According to UNICEF, the situation of minors is particularly critical. It is estimated that more than 86,000 Haitian children under the age of five could experience severe acute malnutrition this year, compared with 41,000 the previous year.
“In just one year, Haiti is projected to have more than twice as many children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. In hospitals, I was sad to see so many malnourished children. Some will not recover if they are not treated on time,” he said Director – UNICEF Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jean Gough.
This week, an Organization of American States (OAS) mission landed in Haiti to meet with political actors in the country amid the “serious political, security and human rights situation”.
An electoral referendum was scheduled for June 27 to move forward on the “roadmap” for the transition defended by Haitian President Jovenel Moise, who decree rules the health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic due to the lack of an elected parliament.
Haiti is going through a long crisis that sparked earlier this year since the opposition claimed that Moise’s term expired on February 7. The president claims that the term of office only started with valid elections and that he therefore has the right to remain in office until February 2022.