AMERICA/HAITI - Chaotic conditions: There has been no news of Father Noah since the kidnapping two weeks ago

Friday, 24 February 2023

Port au Prince (Agenzia Fides) - Haiti is marked by hunger, violence, cholera and political instability. The Caribbean island is now a shattered country without institutions, with a starving population and armed gangs that continue to strike everywhere. The political and economic crisis has deepened following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021 and citizen protests against the high cost of living and social insecurity.
New elections are not likely to take place until rampant gang violence subsides. In 2022, the country experienced a political deadlock, rising gas and water prices, and a wave of gang violence involving kidnappings and killings, including the kidnapping of Father Antoine Macaire Christian Noah. The Claretian missionary was kidnapped on February 7th and to this day there is still no news of him (see Fides, 10/2/2023).
Armed violence is also targeting schools and other educational institutions, and the education system is in danger of collapsing since criminal gangs began attacking schools. At the beginning of February, around 30 schools in the country's urban areas had to be closed due to violence. Since October 2022, more than a quarter of educational institutions have been closed. This also increases the risk of children being recruited by armed groups.
The scale of the humanitarian needs, however, is alarming. Haiti today has a population of about 12 million people.
According to official estimates by the United Nations Fund, about 19,000 Haitians are on the brink of starvation. Almost half of the population is in need of help. More than 457 people have died from cholera and there are currently another 22,500 suspected cases. More than 155,000 people have been displaced, mostly due to gang violence. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 24/2/2023)