An Increasingly Dire Situation in Port-au-Prince
This article appears in our Winter 2022/23 magazine and was written by Maurice Wilfride, the Assistant Director of Adoration Christian School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Haiti is experiencing a serious crisis generated by armed gang activity, a fuel crisis, and the rising cost of living. These factors are causing significant social unrest in the country and are worsening the plight of the most vulnerable populations. The increasingly deadly turf wars between rival gang coalitions reveal the depth of the political stalemate in which Haiti is immersed. Nothing seems to be able to stop the rapid progression of gangs, given the absence of a legitimate government since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
This power vacuum has given free rein to armed gangs who kill, kidnap, and extort with little resistance from the state. Street gangs control a large part of the gasoline reserves, which prevents the transport of water to the population and to the hospitals. These gang leaders are seeking to consolidate control of the most populous neighborhoods before new elections are held, which would allow them to coerce residents to vote for certain candidates and would provide significant leverage in their negotiations with politicians.
Many people, confined to their homes, no longer have access to water, food, or electricity. The majority of Adoration students’ families were already living in extreme poverty, which makes their cases worse. There are many students who usually get their daily food from Adoration; we can only hope that they will not die of hunger. Adoration staff are forced to stay at home and all schools are closed. The prices of basic necessities have increased by more than four to fives times what they were before. Public transportation is paralyzed because a gallon of gasoline that used to sell for 250 Gourdes ($1.91 USD) is now being sold for 3000-5000 Gourdes ($23–$38 USD).
Hunger has worsened in this part of the country, caused by people being unable to work and, in turn, being unable to provide for their families. The fuel crisis, as well as the tensions and insecurity throughout the country, have direct consequences on humanitarian activities and basic services, including health, nutrition, and education. If no solution is found to the fuel crisis soon, the humanitarian crisis will take on a whole new dimension. Please pray for our country.
Note from the editor: Although the situation in Haiti seems hopeless to our human minds, we know that the Lord is at work in the midst of this tragedy and He continues to care for His people. Since the writing of this article, Word & Deed has sent $30,000 USD to Adoration for distribution to the families of students at Adoration who will use these funds to purchase food for their families. May the Lord continue to care for His people in their time of need!