Gang Leaders Ignoring Transitional Council In Haiti As Sea Port And Airport Remain Closed.

- Advertisement -

There was plenty of shooting going on in the streets of downtown Port-au-Prince yesterday, forcing aid workers to halt urgently needed care for thousands of Haitians, and if the armed gangs had heard about the new transitional council finally getting to work on solving Haiti’s problems and bringing peace to the streets, then they seemed to be indifferent.

Gang violence, shootings and robberies  have forced nearly all the hospitals in Port au Prince to stop working and caused a shortage of medical supplies as Haiti’s main seaport and the Toussaint Louverture International Airport  remain shuttered and locked, said aid workers with The Alliance for International Medical Action, humanitarian organization based in Senegal, West Africa.

“The situation is really challenging and affects our movement on a daily basis,” said Antoine Maillard, the organization’s medical coordinator based in Port-au-Prince.

However, the online community does seem to have hit back at some gang leaders.

One gang leader, Johnson Andre posted TikTok and  YouTube videos rapping about the police officiers he says he has killed while brandishing military grade weapons, but his accounts have been deleted.

Before his account was taken down, the Wall Street Journal saw footage of Andre bragging about killing his enemies. They reported him saying: “Gonna whack them all. Going to snort cocaine and kill everyone who hates me.”

Gang violence has driven about 17,000 people in the capital from their homes. Many are crammed into abandoned schools and other buildings in highly unsanitary conditions where they often share a single toilet.

Maillard said aid workers were able to reach one of the camps for displaced people on Tuesday, but there was so much shooting going on that they hadn’t been able to do anything to help.

He said the health crisis is worsening. It is difficult to find basic medications including antibiotics and antidiarrheals since gang violence has shuttered suppliers. The limited medication available has doubled and even tripled in price.

That means Haitians like 65-year-old Denise Duval are unable to buy needed medication or see a doctor.

“My health right now is not good,” she said, adding that she has high blood pressure and often feels dizzy. “From hearing gunfire all the time, my heart beats a lot.”

Duval is taking care of three grandchildren whose mother migrated to the neighboring Dominican Republic in search of work. The mother sends money when she can, but Duval said it’s not enough to buy medication and support the children at the same time.

“We’re living day-by-day and hoping that something will change,” she said as she sat outside her home and washed dishes in a bucket.

Gunfire echoes daily throughout Port-au-Prince, though the gang violence has somewhat subsided in certain areas since gunmen began attacking key government infrastructure on Feb. 29.

Key roads remain impassible, preventing Haitians like 52-year-old Nadine Prosper from reaching one of the few operating hospitals.

Prosper lost her lower left leg in Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, and she’s unable to get the medication she needs.

“I’m still suffering,” she said as she walked back to her house with a cane in one hand and groceries in the other. “When the pain comes, if I don’t have painkillers, that’s the hardest part.”

Haiti’s largest public hospital, the State University Hospital, is among those closed. Located in downtown Port-au-Prince, it has been seized and looted by gangs that also pillaged nearby pharmacies.

While some private clinics and hospitals are operating, they remain inaccessible to the majority of people in a country where 60% of the population earns less than $2 a day.

Dr. Priscille Cupidon, medical activity manager for Doctors Without Borders, said the ongoing fighting resembles a war.

“The country’s deepening political and economic crises have left medical facilities with few resources,” she wrote in an essay published Tuesday. “Our health care system is falling apart.”

Cupidon, who runs a mobile health clinic, said a medical team visited a neighborhood near the center of Port-au-Prince late last month that it hadn’t been able to access since Feb. 29.

“The medical needs in the area are very high and are only likely to grow now that health care is so limited,” Cupidon said.

Gangs are estimated to control 80% of Port-au-Prince.

The violence forced Prime Minister Ariel Henry to announce last month that he would resign once a transitional presidential council is created.

Sources: VOA, Daily Express.
- Advertisement -