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More than 53,000 people fled Port-au-Prince in March

Photo: Odelyn Joseph Associated Press Passers-by in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 25, 2024

France Media Agency

April 2, 2024

  • Americas

More than 53,000 people fled Port-au-Prince between March 8 and 27, the vast majority to escape the gang violence ravaging the Haitian capital, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) revealed on Tuesday.

“In addition to creating displacement within the ZMPP (Metropolitan Zone of Port-au-Prince), attacks and generalized insecurity are pushing more and more people to leave the capital to find refuge in the provinces, taking the risks of passing through routes controlled by gangs”, notes the IOM.

She launched a data collection to better understand the phenomenon and allocate the necessary resources where the needs are most pressing.

The first conclusions of this study reveal that 53,125 people left the metropolitan area during the period under review, of which 61% went to the departments of the Great South of the country.

A region which already hosts “more than 116,000 people who had largely fled the ZMPP in recent months”, notes the IOM.

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Eight in 10 people have left because of gang violence and almost 6 in 10 say they will stay outside the ZMPP “as long as necessary”.

More than half of people (53%) said they chose their final destination because they came from there. Furthermore, almost all of the people interviewed (97%) mentioned having a family who would welcome them.

Perhaps more surprisingly, when authorities in nearby countries feared a wave of refugees, 96% of those surveyed indicated they wanted to stay in Haiti. Only 3% want to go to the neighboring Dominican Republic and less than 1% to the United States and Brazil.

Haiti has no longer had a president since the assassination of Jovenel Moïse in 2021 and no longer has a functioning Parliament. The last elections took place in 2016.

The country has been ravaged for decades by poverty, natural disasters, political instability and gang violence.

Since late February, powerful Haitian gangs have teamed up to attack police stations, prisons, the airport and the seaport in an effort to oust Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Highly contested, Mr. Henry announced on March 11 that he would resign to make way for a so-called transition council.

But three weeks later, the council has still not been formed, due to disagreements between political parties and other stakeholders who should appoint the next prime minister, as well as doubts over the legality even of such an organ.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116