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MSF Suspending Some Operations in Haiti Due to Gang Violence

A woman guides a child past a demonstration against increasing violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 29, 2022.

The French charity Doctors without Borders (MSF) announced Friday that it is temporarily suspending operations in an impoverished suburb of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, due to rising gang violence.

The security situation in Haiti has been deteriorating for months, with gangs exerting influence far beyond the poor neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince.

The Caribbean nation is also facing an increase in kidnappings: between five and 10 people are abducted every day in Haiti, according to Haitian human rights organizations.

"We condemn all forms of obstruction and violence against medical services, our patients and staff members," said Thierry Goffeau, MSF's director for Haiti, in a statement announcing the temporary closure of a hospital in the Cite-Soleil neighborhood.

The hospital will remain closed "as long as security conditions are not guaranteed," the statement said.

The Cite-Soleil hospital opened more than a decade ago, and provides emergency care, although its service for serious burns had already been transferred to another hospital in the capital due to a previous wave of violence.

Last August, MSF was forced to permanently close a hospital it had been operating for 15 years in the Martissant neighborhood, one of the most disadvantaged in Port-au-Prince, after police fled their local station and a wave of gang violence and looting forced thousands to flee their homes.