The number of people displaced by the wave of gang-related violence in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince reached 96,000, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a report published this week.
The number of people fleeing the capital has tripled in the past five months, according to the report, which identified over 113,000 internally displaced people in the country. Of those, 96,000 individuals fled insecurity in the capital and an additional 17,000 individuals remain displaced as a result of the 2021 earthquake that devastated the country’s southern region.
Between April and August, 2022, more than 47,000 people were displaced in the Metropolitan Area of Port-au-Prince, according to the report, which indicates that the number of people displaced by gang-related violence in Haiti’s capital has tripled in the past five months.
Kidnappings, murders, sexual abuse, extortion and other criminal acts have become frequent in Port-au-Prince, which is in the midst of a serious economic crisis.
The United Nations released a report in October accusing the country’s gangs of using rape as a tool of intimidation.
The humanitarian situation in Haiti has worsened since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in in July 2021. Tensions are rising amid criminal gang violence, shortages of fuel, increases in food prices and a political vacuum that has plunged Haitians into deep uncertainty about the future.
The lack of fuel has unleashed protests, forced hospitals to cut back staff and prompted businesses to shut down, preventing the distribution of basic goods amid a new cholera outbreak.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry has asked the international community for military assistance to address the actions by criminal gangs.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday from Ottawa that the US and Canada will work together to “cut the insecurity knot” that has allowed gangs to create a humanitarian crisis in Haiti.