Haiti: in Port-au-Prince, in “state of siege”, the American embassy evacuates part of its staff

In Haiti, the capital, Port-au-Prince, continued to sink into gang-related violence on Sunday March 10; the United States announcing that it had evacuated part of the staff of its embassy and reinforced the teams in charge of its security

Haiti: in Port-au-Prince, in “state of siege”, the American embassy evacuates part of its staff

In Haiti, the capital, Port-au-Prince, continued to sink into gang-related violence on Sunday March 10; the United States announcing that it had evacuated part of the staff of its embassy and reinforced the teams in charge of its security. “Increased gang violence in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy and airport has led the State Department to make arrangements to allow the departure of additional personnel,” the embassy said on x.

The operation, led by the American army, took place during the night from Saturday to Sunday by helicopter, according to residents of the neighborhood. “This airlift of personnel to and from the embassy is part of our planned procedures to enhance embassy security,” the US military said in a statement on Sunday. The United States embassy in Port-au-Prince remains open, she said.

The capital of Haiti, scene of clashes between police and armed gangs, is “a city in a state of siege,” Philippe Branchat, the head for Haiti of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), warned on Saturday. “The residents of the capital live locked up, they have nowhere to go,” he describes.

362,000 people displaced in Haiti, according to IOM

The criminal gangs which control most of the capital as well as the roads leading to the rest of the territory have been attacking police stations, prisons and courts for several days, in the absence of the Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, whom they demand resignation, just like part of the population. According to the latest news, he is stranded in the American territory of Puerto Rico after a trip abroad.

Faced with the violence, dozens of residents took over the premises of a public administration in Port-au-Prince on Saturday, hoping to find refuge there, according to a correspondent from Agence France-Presse (AFP). “Since last night we haven’t been able to sleep. We are fleeing, me with my personal belongings on my head, without knowing where to go,” a resident who had to leave her house told AFP. “Today, it is not our neighbors in the Dominican Republic who are fighting against Haiti, but it is Haitians, of the same blood, who are fighting among themselves,” she lamented.

Friday evening, armed men attacked the national presidential palace and a police station in Port-au-Prince, the general coordinator of the National Union of Haitian Police Officers (Synapoha) confirmed to AFP. Several attackers were killed, according to the same source. “Insecurity is growing nationally: there is violence in Artibonite [region northwest of the capital], blockages in Cap-Haitien [Northern department], and fuel shortages in the south [of Haiti],” notes Philippe Branchat.

According to the IOM, 362,000 people – more than half of whom are children – are currently displaced in Haiti, a figure that has jumped 15% since the start of the year. The Haitian government has declared a state of emergency in the West department which includes Port-au-Prince, as well as a nighttime curfew, difficult to enforce by already overwhelmed law enforcement.