Haiti gang violence escalates as U.S. evacuation flights end with final plane set to land in Miami

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One of the last flights out of Haiti carried CBS Miami’s Tania Francois’ dad


One of the last flights out of Haiti carried CBS Miami’s Tania Francois’ dad

02:25

The last opportunity for U.S. nationals to flee violence-wracked Haiti on a government-chartered evacuation flight arrived Friday, with no sign of the chaos easing in the tiny Caribbean nation. The U.S. State Department said last week in an email to Americans in Haiti that charter flights were not scheduled to continue after April 12. 

CBS Miami’s Tania Francois said the last scheduled evacuation flight from Haiti was scheduled to arrive Friday afternoon in South Florida.

Gunfire echoed through the streets of Haiti’s embattled capital city this week, forcing charities to suspend care for citizens, according to The Associated Press.

Haiti, already reeling from years of political unrest and gang violence, was plunged into spiraling chaos on Feb. 29 when the heavily-armed gangs launched a unified attack on government institutions and infrastructure.

HAITI-UNREST-GANGS
Haitian policemen stand guard on a street corner amid gang violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, April 8, 2024. 

CLARENS SIFFROY/AFP/Getty


The barely-functioning government declared a state of emergency that has been extended through May 3, with a nighttime curfew in place until at least April 17, the prime minister’s office said in an announcement shared on social media.

The United Nations says more than 1,550 people were killed in Haiti during the first three months of 2024 alone. 

A new report by Haitian human rights group the National Human Rights Defense Network, which has tracked gang violence against civilians since Feb. 29, details the stories of hundreds of people who have been murdered or attacked, with the goal being to ensure that those who were responsible are eventually held accountable.

The report highlights a worrying trend of sexual violence in addition to the killings, documenting at least 64 rapes since January — many of them women or girls who were allegedly gang-raped by “armed bandits.” 

The U.N.’s World Food Program said Thursday that it had expanded efforts to provide food assistance as the crisis has also sent the number of people going hungry in Haiti to record highs. But the agency warned that as the ongoing chaos impacts ports in the country, its food stocks “risk running out by the end of the month.”


How U.S. citizens are fleeing Haiti

02:59

Haitian leaders have finalized a deal for a transitional presidential council to guide the country out of its political crisis, French news agency AFP reported. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs Brian Nichols said during a panel event on Wednesday that the council’s creation was imminent.

Democratic lawmakers called Thursday on the U.S. government to do more for Haiti after meeting with human rights advocates and Haitian organizations, according to the Reuters news agency.

They urged an extension of temporary protection status for Haitian migrants, an end to forced deportations of Haitians from the U.S., and new action to combat weapons trafficking into the country that sits only about 700 miles from Miami.

Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, a Florida Democrat who is the only Haitian-American representative in Congress, said the country was “at a tipping point, and we need a solution now.”





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