Haiti expat gripped by fear as mother and young niece stuck in violence-ridden nation | World | News


A Haitian expat has shared his anguish over the horrific violence his mother and young niece have been witnessing in recent weeks as he lamented they have been unable to leave the country.

Patrice Millet, who is originally from Haiti but splits his time between Port-au-Prince and Miami, is in a state of constant worry for his loved ones back home as violence escalates.

Millet has warned that “anything could happen” as gang violence continues to escalate despite Prime Minister Ariel Henry stepping down last week.

Gangs had demanded Henry step down, threatening to plunge Haiti further into chaos and triggering a “genocide”.

Millet was in Miami undergoing cancer treatment when the violence first erupted in Haiti and has been unable to reunite with his family in Port-au-Prince – or have the two women join him in Florida.


Describing the struggle his family has been facing, Millet told WLRN: “It’s very difficult to deal with.

“The violence the gangs are inflicting this week is mostly in the more middle-class neighbourhoods against people who likely had the means to emigrate from Haiti if they’d wanted to but chose to stay committed to the country. Now, they can’t get out – and we can’t bring them here, even if we tried.”

According to Millet, there was a close call when gang members nearly kidnapped his niece at gunpoint.

The girl managed to escape by scrambling over a wall and getting away on an adjacent street – but he noted he has no information on what happened to his mother.

Violence on the streets near Laboule, where Millet’s mother lives, has worsened this week and multiple witnesses have described bodies lining the streets after repeated attacks.

“Anything could happen to her, you know,” Millet said of his nearly captured niece. “Those people can rape her, do many things to her. And you know what’s incredible? Now, nobody wants to help us.”


A multinational force led by Kenya was in the process of being sent to the country to aid the severely overwhelmed police force, but there have been a series of delays that have resulted in deployment being pushed back.

Millet operates the nonprofit FONDAPS, which is designed to help impoverished children and their families by teaching them football and keeping them out of gangs while also providing them food to take home after practice.

He said he’s been on the phone every day trying to ensure that his organization’s much-needed supplies, like water and food, can get to the children for whom they’re intended but gangs have been hijacking them.

More than 33,000 people have fled Haiti’s capital in a span of nearly two weeks as gangs continue to pillage homes and attack state institutions, according to a new report from the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).

In a report released Thursday, IOM said: “Attacks and generalized insecurity are pushing more and more people to leave the capital to find refuge in provinces, taking the risks of passing through gang-controlled routes.”

Scores of people have been killed and some 17,000 people overall left homeless since the gang attacks began on Feb. 29, with gunmen targeting police stations and the main international airport that remains closed.

They also stormed Haiti’s two biggest prisons and released more than 4,000 inmates.

Adding to the crisis is the inability of police officers in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area to cash their checks, Lionel Lazarre, a member of a police union known as SYNAPOHA, told Radio Caraïbes on Friday.

Lazarre did not say how many officers have been affected, but he said they need to get paid to be able to feed their families.

He said they should be able to cash their checks at any bank, including private ones.

The U.S. Department of State said Friday that it had evacuated more than 130 U.S. citizens out of Port-au-Prince since Wednesday and nearly 100 others out of the coastal city of Cap-Haitien in northern Haiti since Sunday.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *