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Haiti Update: Port-au-Prince Has Become a Prison

Chasey Pittsley
May 09, 2024


For over 11 million people living on the island nation of Haiti, life has become a never-ending nightmare, and their country has turned into a battlefield.

The sound of gunshots rings out regularly in the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, as gangs fight for territory. The sounds warn anyone attempting to leave their home that even stepping outside can be deadly.

To make matters worse, food and medicine are also growing scarce. As a result, people are suffering from life-threatening hunger and treatable illnesses.

And with no clear governing body, the future of Haiti and its citizens remains dangerously uncertain.

A Turbulent History

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Haitians have endured years of turmoil, poverty, and disaster

Haiti has experienced political and economic turmoil for years, but this ongoing crisis took a turn for the worse when a devastating earthquake killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed most of the country’s infrastructure back in 2010.

As the economy continued to decline over the next decade, more people began going hungry. Violent demonstrations and protests filled the streets, the citizens demanding relief.

Then, in July 2021, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his home by Colombian mercenaries. Shortly after, the government instituted Prime Minister Ariel Henry as acting president — without an election.

People rebelled, and gangs began expanding their control across Haiti from Port-au-Prince, demanding new leadership and a voice in the decision-making.

Haitian civilians faced an impending crisis as the gangs took over banks, hospitals, and major ports. By September 2023, they controlled over 80 percent of Port-au-Prince. Food, medicine, fuel, and other essentials became increasingly scarce, and prices skyrocketed.

Those who could still afford supplies were terrified to leave their homes. The threat of murder, kidnapping, and rape was ever-present, and bullets flew with little to no warning.

The gangs soon gained so much power that they took over the national bank, the nation’s largest hospital, and the international airport. Many people could no longer receive medical care or access their money. They were trapped.

For the people of Port-au-Prince, the city had become a prison.

A Growing Crisis

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Recently, conditions in Haiti have worsened, and civilians have been caught in the crossfire

In March 2024, after attempting to make an agreement with Kenya to send police troops to Haiti, Ariel Henry announced his resignation as Prime Minister due to nationwide protests. His resignation, effective April 24, came after a major prison break where over 3,600 inmates escaped Haiti’s two largest prisons in an orchestrated attack.

The Transitional Presidential Council was sworn in on April 25, but there’s still no way to get aid into Haiti. More and more people are suffering.

Over 15,000 people have been forcibly displaced from their homes because of the growing violence. Countless men, women, and children have taken refuge in schools, churches, and other vacated buildings.

Before the attacks, over 60 percent of Haiti’s population lived on less than $2 a day. Now, people can’t even work because of the violence. Food is running out, and prices are skyrocketing — as people’s already meager incomes are reduced to nothing. Thousands of families have no way to get essentials because almost all entrances to the city are blocked.

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Now, children in Haiti are facing starvation, disease, and immense danger

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell recently reported that over 60 percent of Haitian children desperately need food and other essentials. Around 58,000 boys and girls are suffering from severe malnutrition.

“The situation in Haiti is catastrophic, and it grows worse by the day,” Russell said. “Port-au-Prince is now almost completely sealed off because of air, sea, and land blockades.” While the gangs are primarily centered in Port-au-Prince, they control the surrounding highways and even the international airport. As a result, safe transportation around the country is impossible.

Since Prime Minister Ariel Henry has resigned, the gangs haven’t let up on their attacks. Even with the installation of the Transitional Presidential Council, Haiti has effectively become a failed state. The council will be prioritizing targeting the violence across Haiti, especially against women and children, but there’s still a long way to go before people will be able to resume their regular lives.

What You Can Do to Help

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Your gift today will ensure sponsored children in Haiti have the essentials they need

Men, women, and children in Haiti are suffering more than ever. They have no idea what the future holds. People are starving, sick, and afraid. But the good news is that they’re not alone — you can provide them with help and hope today.

Most importantly, the people of Haiti need your prayers. Pray that God would restore peace and order to Haiti. Pray for His provision and protection. Also, please pray for our partners and the sponsored children living in Haiti — for their safety, health, and peace of mind.

You can also give financially to help children in Haiti. With prices rising quickly, it’s getting harder for our partners to provide for the children in our sponsorship program. The children’s safety is also a top priority. Your emergency $50 gift will help provide additional security for the campus as well as aid like food and other essential supplies to ensure their immediate needs continue to be met as this conflict unfolds.

Civilians in Haiti are losing hope. But you can remind them they’re not alone. Your prayers and support will be an incredible reminder of God’s love and provision.

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