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Haiti extends state of emergency as gang violence grips capital
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In response to the ongoing violence, the Haitian government has extended the state of emergency in the Ouest department, encompassing Port-au-Prince, through May 3rd. Additionally, a nightly curfew from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am will remain in effect across the department until at least April 10th, with potential extensions likely. Public demonstrations have also been banned for the duration of the state of emergency.

Political instability and gang activity have severely disrupted transportation, business operations, and diplomatic services across Haiti. These disruptions are expected to persist through at least mid-April. Violence is primarily concentrated within Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. Recent incidents include multiple shootings downtown, looting of the National Library, and violence along routes leading to the airport. Universities and industrial parks have also been targeted by criminals. 

The ongoing violence has displaced over 53,000 residents of Port-au-Prince in March alone.  Many of these individuals were previously displaced by prior outbreaks of violence.

The formation of a transitional presidential council, intended to address the crisis, faces delays three weeks after Prime Minister Ariel Henry's resignation. Gangs are expected to continue fighting for control of strategic areas in the capital, and the establishment of a council is unlikely to immediately reduce violence. However, it could pave the way for potential future foreign intervention.

Further economic hardship looms as Caribbean Port Services indefinitely suspended operations after a gang incursion and looting incident. This closure threatens to exacerbate existing shortages of food, fuel, and medical supplies.

Several embassies, including those of the US, Canada, Germany, and the European Union, have evacuated staff from Port-au-Prince due to the deteriorating security situation. While the US Embassy remains operational with increased security measures, other countries may follow suit if the crisis persists. (ILKHA)



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