Gang Truce In Haiti Allows Aid To Come In Post-Earthquake

Al Jazeera has reported that a gang truce called in Haiti has allowed for a key road near the capital Port-au-Prince to be opened up for the first time months. The truce was called to allow trucks driving from Port-au-Prince to deliver aid to areas effect by last week’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake which caused the death of over 2,200 people with 340 people still unaccounted for. On top of the fatalities over 12,200 people have been injured.

Prior to the truce being called, aid had mostly been delivered to the Southwest of the country by air due to concerns over gang violence in the Martissant neighborhood that lies west of Port-au-Prince. Martissant has been the battleground of two gangs, Ti Lapli and the Krisla, until the truce was called last Friday. Jimmy Chérizier, who is known by the name Barbecue and is the leader of the G9 Revolutionary Force gangs told Al Jazeera “[w]e know actually that the victims need water, need food, that they need sanitary kits… We want to help our brothers and sisters that are in a very difficult situation after the earthquake, that’s why we say, ‘better to give little than nothing.”

Since the truce was called traffic flow has opened up along a key road that goes through the neighborhood in a way that hasn’t been seen in months. They are now able to deliver aid to small towns located in the mountains of the Tiburon peninsula.  This truce comes as some much-needed positive news for the country as many key roads have become damaged or impassable due to the earthquake. Landslides and damaged tarmac have caused issues delivering aid along a main road that runs between Les Cayes and Jérémie, two of the hardest-hit urban areas causing food and water shortages for farming communities.

While the truce has allowed aid to be dispatched more easily, more aid is still needed. Hospitals are overwhelmed with those seeking care for earthquake-related injuries. As a healthcare professional from Project Hope’s emergency response team located in the southwestern city of Les Cayes, Rawan Hamadeh, told Al Jazeera, “[t]he load of patients is very high. There isn’t enough resources. There isn’t enough medication, medical supplies, or even human resources.” USAID/BJA Partner the International Organization for Migration has estimated that more than 8,300 people have been displaced by the earthquake and are taking shelter in 26 sites across Nippes and Sud.

The US military has been able to conduct 311 missions so far, alongside 425 medical evacuations and transporting over 136,00 pounds of aid to affected areas. USAID/BHA has also released an additional 720 metric tons of contingency food stock to the World Food Programme. The United Nations is also working alongside these organizations to support rescue and relief efforts and UNICEF said that they sent 9.7 tons of medical, water, and hygiene supplies on Friday last week with an additional 30 tons due to arrive in the following days. However, rescue efforts were complicated by a tropical storm on Monday. Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry has asked international aid providers to work with the civil protection agency “which will specify the needs of each town, each village, and each remote area,” according to DW.  Henry also said that he wanted to avoid “mismanagement and coordination of aid” by empowering the civil protection agency to “lead a coordinated response.”