Accessibility links

Breaking News

Report: Number of internally displaced people in Haiti increases by 60%

FILE - A girl jumps rope at a school housing residents displaced by gang violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, May 15, 2024.
FILE - A girl jumps rope at a school housing residents displaced by gang violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, May 15, 2024.

The number of internally displaced people in Haiti has risen 60% since March, when armed gangs took control of the capital, the United Nations migration agency reported Tuesday.

"The figures we see today are a direct consequence of years of spiraling violence — that reached a new high in February — and its catastrophic humanitarian impact," said Philippe Branchat, head of the International Organization for Migration in Haiti. "The unending crisis in Haiti is pushing more and more people to flee their homes and leave everything behind. This is not something they do lightly. What's more, for many of them, this is not the first time."

The IOM reported 578,074 internally displaced people across Haiti, a 60% increase from 362,551 in early March. Haiti is a nation of 11.9 million people.

A surge in gang violence began at the end of February as the gangs sought to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Henry was in Kenya at the time, signing an agreement in which Kenya would send security forces to help Haiti's national police fight the gangs.

Gangs launched coordinated attacks on the capital, Port-au-Prince. The armed gangs attacked the national palace, hospitals, police stations and individual neighborhoods. Since then, people have been fleeing their homes to neighboring provinces.

Gangs control about 80% of the capital.

In Port-au-Prince, two-thirds of IDPs live in spontaneous sites with very limited access to basic services, the report said. It added that the country currently has 96 active displacement sites that house 61,000 IDPs.

In April, Henry resigned, and a transitional council took power in Haiti.

A planned deployment of security forces from Kenya has been delayed multiple times.

Some information for this report came from Agence France-Presse, The Associated Press and Reuters.

  • 16x9 Image

    VOA News

    The Voice of America provides news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of over 326 million people. Stories with the VOA News byline are the work of multiple VOA journalists and may contain information from wire service reports.