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U.S. to help Haiti with gang violence crisis

'We need them to come over to help us,' said one Haitian
Posted at 9:39 PM, Oct 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-14 23:43:38-04

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — Calls for help have led the United States to send a delegation to Haiti to help with the overwhelming gang violence that has taken over the island nation.

“They always send to kill people, to kidnap people and then to take everything from the people,” said Orestal Michel who has family in Haiti. “We need them to come over to help us because the gangs, we cannot stop them.”

The U.S. is deploying the Coast Guard to patrol the waters of Haiti and also a visa restriction is blocking those connected to gang violence.

Haitian native Orestal Michel lives in Lake Worth Beach and said he is in touch with his family in Haiti twice a day to make sure they're okay.

In the last month, Michel said two of his family members in Haiti have been shot by gang members.

“Whatever you’re seeing on the TV, it’s true. Whatever you’re seeing on the social network, it’s true,” said Michel. “We need them to come over to help us because the gangs, we cannot stop them.”

Michel said the gangs have also destroyed schools and have roadblocks leaving millions short on food and fuel.

This is amidst a cholera outbreak that is plaguing the island.

According to the World Food Programme, for the first time ever Haiti has reached catastrophic hunger levels.

"According to the latest IPC analysis, a record 4.7 million people are currently facing acute hunger (IPC 3 and above), including 1.8 million people in the Emergency Phase (IPC 4) and, for the first time ever in Haiti, 19,000 people are in Catastrophe Phase (IPC 5)" per website.

“The people in Haiti definitely need help, you know it’s a crisis right now,” said Nancy Anderson, the president of the nonprofit Hands Together for Haitians, HTH.

HTH.PNG

“We can’t send someone over, we can’t provide medicine. You know, we used to go and take two big medical trips each year. We haven’t gone since 2019 because of the violence,” said Anderson.

HTH focuses on education, health, and community & family development, and has built schools in Haiti.

"We have two schools and thank the lord that they have not been touched, so we support those who are running the schools to let them know that we are here to help them if there is any way we can," said Anderson.

HTH believes efforts by the United States are a first step to helping Haitians get back on their feet and allow many organizations like theirs to send aid.

"Yes, I would say it’s a good thing because it’s hopefully going to cut down the violence so that people can at least get around so they can provide for their families," said Anderson

The state department is now reviewing requests by the U.N. and Haitian officials to send “specialized armed forces" to help on the island.