Gunmen Kidnap 38 Passengers On Minibuses In Haiti

Map of Haiti

 

Gang members in Haiti on Friday kidnapped 38 people as they were riding in minibuses out of the capital Port-au-Prince, bound for the south of the country, the head of a drivers’ association told AFP.

“Two buses had just been filled with passengers bound for Miragoane,” a town some 62 miles (100 kilometers) west of Port-au-Prince, “when the guys from Village de Dieu seized them,” said Mehu Changeux, president of the association of owners and drivers of Haiti, referring to one of the capital’s slums controlled by a powerful gang.

“Each bus had 18 people, in addition to the drivers,” Changeux said, without saying if ransoms had been demanded.

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The mass kidnapping came as Haiti find itself in the grip of armed gangs, whom police have failed to confront.

Since June 1, 2021, Haitian authorities have lost control of the only road connecting Port-au-Prince to the southern half of the country, with a section of some 1.5 miles (two kilometers) under the sway of armed gangs.

It was on this road, at the western exit of the Haitian capital, that the 38 people were abducted. Changeux insisted his organization “always asks drivers not to take this road until the state has restored security.”

But that caution is a luxury that the city’s poorest inhabitants cannot afford, since traveling by the only alternative route, which is not suitable for motor vehicles, costs much more, in particular, because of unofficial tolls.

“There continue to be some buses that take the risk because some passengers do not have the economic means to pay for transport by the mountain road,” said Changeux.

Last weekend, three young Turkish women were released after a month in captivity. They had been kidnapped by the criminal gang that controls the entire region east of Port-au-Prince, up to the border with the Dominican Republic.

This gang, which hijacked the bus in which they were traveling from Santo Domingo, still holds five other Turkish nationals.

In the month of May alone, at least 200 kidnappings were recorded by the UN, overwhelmingly in Port-au-Prince.

AFP

Int’l Community Pledges $600 Million As Relief For Haiti Earthquake

File photo: A man throws a bag of rice into a crowd of earthquake victims gathered for the distribution of food and water at the “4 Chemins” crossroads in Les Cayes, Haiti on August 20, 2021. (Photo by Reginald LOUISSAINT JR / AFP)

 

The international community pledged $600 million Wednesday to help rebuild Haiti’s devastated south, where an earthquake killed more than 2,200 people six months ago.

“These contributions went well above our expectations,” said Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, after the conclusion of an international summit in Port-au-Prince.

With a total estimated cost of $2 billion over four years to build back the areas hardest hit by the August 14 earthquake, the $600 million figure corresponds to only 30 percent of the necessary funding, but is still higher than the 25 percent that had been expected.

Almost a billion dollars is needed just to rebuild the 130,000 homes that were leveled.

Three out of four schools in the region were also destroyed or severely damaged, contributing to an estimated $400 million cost for the education sector alone.

“These contributions, large and small, demonstrate that the international community is committed to a new approach to working with the Government and the people of this country,” said Deputy UN Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, who visited Port-au-Prince for the summit.

READ ALSO: At Least Two Killed In Haiti Quake, 200 Houses Destroyed

In 2010, after a devastating earthquake killed more than 200,000 people and destroyed the homes of a million and half Haitians, the international aid effort was poorly coordinated and inefficient.

Twelve years later, the city center of Port-au-Prince — including multiple government agency headquarters and the presidential palace — has still not been rebuilt.

Lacking long-term plans for new housing, earthquake victims have also filled entire zones of the capital with makeshift lodgings that are highly susceptible to another natural catastrophe.

While Haiti is still mired in a political crisis following the assassination of its president Jovenal Moise seven months ago, the donors said that the funds will be properly managed to avoid corruption or embezzlement.

The investment fund, organized by the United Nations, “will ensure that donors’ money is disbursed in a responsible, effective and considered manner, to bring the maximum possible transparency and impact in the lives of Haitians,” said Mohammed.

AFP

Haiti Death Toll Rising After Hurricane Matthew

Haiti, Hurricane, Hurricane Matthew, The Caribbean, Humanitarian Crisis
Rescue efforts have been confined to urban areas

There are fears that the death toll in the wake of Hurricane Matthew which left behind widespread destruction in Haiti will continue to rise.

This comes as rescue and aid workers are finding it very difficult to reach the worst-hit areas with reports saying at least 336 people have died since the Category 4 hurricane hit Haiti.

A CNN Correspondent in Port-au-Prince, Shasta Darlington says “the death toll is rising on an hourly basis as aid workers and authorities get into these really hard-hit regions.”

Haiti Civil Protection Service spokesman, Joseph Edgard Celestin, said four people are still missing, with 211 people injured and more than 60,000 people displaced.

A death toll count reported by Reuters put the death toll well over 800. The count is reportedly based on figures from local officials.

UN authorities last week said the hurricane is the country’s worst humanitarian crisis since the 2010 earthquake that shook the country to its knees.