Escalating crisis in Haiti drives mass displacement

June 19, 2024  -Recent data reveals a 60 per cent increase in displaced Haitians since March, pushing the total to approximately 580,000 individuals seeking refuge from gang violence.

This alarming trend underscores the deepening humanitarian crisis in Haiti, according to a report from the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The roots of the crisis 

Philippe Branchat, head of the IOM, highlights that the current displacement figures are the culmination of years of escalating violence, which peaked in February.

This ongoing turmoil has forced many Haitians to abandon their homes, with some experiencing displacement multiple times.

Challenges of the new government 

Despite the fact that the year is not yet half over, the number of displaced individuals has nearly reached the total for the entirety of 2023.

Haiti, with a population of around 10 million, saw a new government formation recently.

This government is striving to stabilize the nation after enduring prolonged disruptions primarily caused by gang conflicts, particularly in Port-au-Prince.

Political instability and government transitions 

The violence intensified at the end of February when armed factions in the capital declared their intention to overthrow then-Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Following these developments, Henry resigned in early March, proposing a transitional council aimed at guiding Haiti towards elections—remarkably, the country has not held elections since 2016.

A new acting prime minister and cabinet have since been appointed in an effort to restore order.

Migration and resource strain

The surge in displaced populations is largely attributed to Haitians fleeing the capital for other provinces, which are ill-equipped to accommodate the influx of refugees.

Reports are that this shift has placed significant strain on resources in these areas, further complicating the already dire situation.

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