Haitian prime minister has arrived in Puerto Rico amid turmoil in Haiti, local official says

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Since last week, Port-au-Prince has been gripped by a wave of highly coordinated gang attacks on law enforcement and state institutions. Armed groups have burned down police stations and released thousands of inmates from two prisons, in what one gang leader described as an attempt to overthrow Henry’s government.

The violence erupted while Henry was in Kenya, where he signed an agreement underpinning a Kenyan-led mission of 1,000 police officers to Haiti to restore security in the Caribbean country. The prime minister’s last appearance in public was in Kenya on Friday, before arriving today in Puerto Rico, per Mojica.

Haiti’s government declared a state of emergency on Sunday amid the spiraling violence in Port-au-Prince. The United Nations has said 15,000 people have been forced to flee from their homes in the capital, adding to the over 300,000 who had already been displaced by gang violence.

The government cited the “deterioration of security,” notably “increasingly violent criminal acts perpetrated by armed gangs,” including kidnappings and killings of citizens, violence against women and children and looting, according to a statement from Finance Minister Patrick Boivert.

The violence prompted the Dominican Republic to suspend all cargo and passenger flights to and from neighboring Haiti. Dominican President Luis Abinader said Monday that a heightened level of security was in effect on his country’s border with Haiti and that any escaped Haitian prisoner who tried to enter the country would face “a drastic response.”

Aid groups are scrambling to help residents of the capital. Doctors Without Borders, known in French as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), said it will scale up their medical activities in Port-Au-Prince to care for the “mounting number” of people injured since the country was plunged into chaos.

“The violence has taken on a new dimension since last weekend, causing a massive number of casualties,” MSF said in a Tuesday statement about the move.

The aid group has however struggled to provide care to Haitians, as the country’s main port is now difficult to access and the international airport has been closed. “We fear we will run out of medicines and medical supplies, which are absolutely essential to meet the enormous needs we are facing at the moment,” Haiti MSF head Mumuza Muhindo Musubah said in a statement.

Half of Haiti’s population, 5.5 million people, need humanitarian assistance, the UN said.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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