Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is committed to support Haiti's security restoration.
The federal government sent armored vehicles and other supplies to Haiti to help the police fight a powerful gang amid a pending request from the Haitian government to deploy foreign troops immediately.
A standoff between Haiti’s government and a gang federation is testing the power both sides wield and threatens to derail a paralyzed country where millions of people are struggling to find fuel and water.
Trudeau, in a statement posted online, said the equipment would be used to fight against violent criminal gangs and help improve security.
The equipment arrived over a month after one of Haiti’s most powerful gangs surrounded a fuel terminal and demanded forPrime Minister Ariel Henry's resignation.
Demonstrators have blocked roads in major cities to protest the rise in price of fuel after Henry announced that his administration could no longer afford to subsidize fuel in early September.
The gang is known as G9 and Family, it's asking for positions in Henry’s Cabinet, according to a speach to a radio station Thursday by the director of Haiti’s National Disarmament, Dismantling and Reintegration Commission.
Henry and 18 members of his Cabinet about a week ago, appealed for deployment of foreign troops to quell violence and also end the fuel blockade.
Gang demands are not new in Haiti, and they have grown more prominent since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, but previous threats were quickly dealt with by police and assisting U.N. peacekeeping forces.
The U.N. is reporting an estimated 60% of the country’s capital city Port-au-Prince is controlled by gangs.
Haitian officials has warned the international community that the situation is dire, noting that a recent cholera outbreak could worsen due to the limited availability of water and other essential supplies.
UNICEF warned that about 100,000 children younger than five already suffer from severe acute malnutrition and are vulnerable to cholera.
A report from U.N. agencies and international aid groups said a record 4.7 million people in Haiti are facing hunger, including 19,000 in catastrophic famine conditions for the first time, all in the gang-controlled Cite Soleil slum of Port-au-Prince.
It is becoming a crisis for women also. The United Nations Population Fund said on Friday that 30,000 pregnant women are at risk because roughly three-fourths of Haiti’s hospitals cannot provide services due to a lack of fuel.
In addition, gangs are increasingly raping women and girls, as well as boys and, to some extent, men, to exert and retain control over territory, according to a U.N. Human Rights report released Friday.
Helen La Lime, the top U.N. official in Haiti, told reporters that human rights abuses, including sexual assault and rape, have reached alarming levels.
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