Machete-wielding gangs roam the streets of Haiti as the country faces violence and looters
The US has sent a further 3,500 troops to back up the over-stretched Haitian legal forces, and the UK has trebled its donation to £20 million, giving the people of Haiti a sliver of hope since their country was deveasted by an earthquake on January 12th.
But even as these pledges were made, thousands of Haitians were facing terrifying violence and looting in the streets as tensions continue to rise.
Aggressive gangs have taken to the streets, many carrying knives and guns, in an frightening rampage.
Anger is mounting over lack of supplies and sufficient aid, leading to outbreaks of violence and looting from stores.
Several international organisations are working together to provide relief efforts, but there are many concerns that aid is struggling to meet demand and reach those who need it in time.
‘All the ministries have fallen down. Everything in Haiti is broken,’ said minister Marie Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue.
The police hope to regain law and order with swift and violent action in dealing with looters, and vigilante groups have also established themselves against the looters.
Fears for safety have also risen due to the escape of 3,000 inmates, including several armed gang members, after the national jail was damaged in the earthquake freeing the criminals.
‘This is one of the most serious crises in decades, the damage destruction and loss of life are just overwhelming,’ said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
So far 25,000 people have been buried, but the Red Cross estimates that the current death toll is around 45,000 to 50,000.
The UN has estimated that three million people have been affected, and that 300,000 people have been left homeless.
The UN humanitarian department has appealed for $560 million from the world community to assist the earthquake victims and provide aid for them.