Hundreds killed in one week of violence in Haiti capital

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Access to healthcare is limited or non-existent, while food and water have been in short supply, he said…reports Asian Lite News

Humanitarians are delivering aid primarily in the Cite Soleil neighbourhood of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, where a week of violence claimed 471 casualties, a UN spokesman said.

“In the past few days, the UN has distributed enough food to feed 7,000 people for a week,” said Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“We have also distributed drinking water, as well as kits of basic relief items, including hygiene and baby supplies, plastic sheeting and repair items for damaged houses.”

Haq added that the world body tallied more than 471 people killed, injured or unaccounted for in clashes between rival gangs in the capital city on July 8-17 alone. About 3,000 people fled their homes, including hundreds of unaccompanied children. At least 140 houses were destroyed, several of them by fire.

Access to healthcare is limited or non-existent, while food and water have been in short supply, he said.

The Humanitarian Coordinator, Ulrika Richardson, called on all parties to end violence and to ensure unhindered access to provide emergency humanitarian and medical assistance to civilians in need, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Protection remains a real concern,” the Spokesman told correspondents at a regular briefing, adding there were reports of serious incidents of sexual violence against women and girls and boys recruited by gangs.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported earlier this month in a background report that since June 2021, violent clashes between armed gangs have dominated socio-economic life in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, spreading fear and terror among the population. The security situation has deteriorated significantly and reached new levels since April 2022.

The report cautioned that “the situation is expected to remain tense and volatile in the coming months”.

Boat capsized

At least 17 people have died after a boat carrying dozens of Haitian refugees capsized off the coast of the Bahamas during a “suspected human smuggling operation”.

Rescue teams recovered the bodies of 15 females, a male, and an infant after the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force responded to the reports of a boating incident, which took place seven miles off New Providence just after 1 am on Sunday, Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis said in a statement.

 Davis further said that twenty-five people were recovered and handed to health officials for monitoring, but still, some people were presumed to be missing and the operation is underway, CNN reported.

“Preliminary investigations suggest that a twin-engine speed boat left a docking facility off West Bay Street around 1 am with approximately 60 people on board. It is believed that their final destination was Miami, Florida,” the Prime Minister said.

“Law enforcement officials will update you on the criminal matter as well as other rescue and recovery efforts. However, I would like to convey the condolences of my government and the people of The Bahamas to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragedy,” the Prime Minister said as quoted by CNN.

Condemning the smuggling operation in the country, the Bahamas PM said, “We take this opportunity to strongly condemn the organization of smuggling operations which risk human life and compromise our national security. Those found to be involved will face prosecution.”

Davis further said that he understands their (migrants) situation that led them to take such great risk.

Bahamas Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander told reporters on Sunday that an estimated 50 to 60 people were believed to have been on board the 20-ft speedboat and that the search for survivors or bodies was ongoing.

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