The war between gangs in the metropolitan area of ​​​​Port-au-Prince has forced thousands of Haitians to flee to safer areas, but their arrival is generating suspicion in the places of reception, where some are rejected for fear that there are bandits among the displaced. .

The clashes between the 400 Mawozo and Chen Mechan gangs, which broke out on April 24, have forced at least 9,000 people to leave their homes in recent weeks, according to the latest balance sheet from the United Nations, released last week.

At least 75 civilians have died in the shootings, according to the UN, but the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights in Haiti (Rnddh), an NGO, said Tuesday that it has counted 148 murders.

NO FACILITIES FOR THE DISPLACED

The outbreak of violence has led hundreds of people to seek refuge in the streets of Port-au-Prince, where on Tuesday many received medical attention from doctors from the Ministry of Health.

But it has also produced an exodus from the capital to rural areas, regions where the lack of infrastructure and basic services is more pressing, making it more difficult to provide assistance to the displaced.

Abel Descolines, a former deputy for Mirebalais, a commune 50 kilometers north of the capital, explained to Efe that in his region "no facilities" to welcome the people "moves spontaneously" while the local authorities, "surprised by his arrival, they have no means to respond".

In the last two weeks the displaced "they are coming by tens and hundreds" and they are installed in the public square and in the courtyard of the University Hospital of Mirebalais.

DISTRUST, FEAR AND MISERY

Although it gives the impression that it is people "traumatized" who has lost everything, "there is mistrust and fear".

"When there are people who come from conflictive areas, it is not known who is good and who is bad"said Descolines.

Mistrust and fear have been felt in initiatives such as that of the Mirebalais prosecutor, Gabriel Fleury, who has forced anyone who has just arrived in the city to present information about their identity at the police station.

The possibility that the belligerents are among the displaced "creates psychosis" in the population, while "The police are overwhelmed by the events. It lacks the means and manpower"said the former deputy.

He also explained that the inhabitants of the central plateau of Haiti "are in a difficult situation" and at some point they may come to the conclusion that the displaced increase their misery, which can lead to acts of violence.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES

As in Mirebalais, the authorities in other cities have taken preventive measures in the face of the arrival of displaced people. The City Council of Arcahaie, 37 kilometers northwest of Port-au-Prince, announced that the population that wants to rent a space or receive refugees must fill out a free form.

"This is a way to keep the commune in peace and security. Whoever does otherwise is exposed to the sanctions provided by law."said the municipal authority.

Examples of preventive measures against the displaced have multiplied from north to south of Haiti.

In Anse-à-Pitres, the southernmost point on the border with the Dominican Republic, a document circulates urging citizens to protect their homes: "Let’s not rent houses to strangers. Help the Police to unmask the strangers".

"As soon as you suspect someone has a stranger in their home, notify the authorities"adds the document, similar to another circulating in the northern city of Cap-Haitien.

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