Backgrounder: Haiti’s Descent into Chaos

Logan Abassi / UNDP Global - United Nations Development Programme, originally posted to Flickr as Haiti Earthquake,

Since the beginning of 2024, 1,200 people have lost their lives due to gang violence in Haiti. The failing government is incapable of removing the bodies, and as a result of gang violence, the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, are littered with dead, charred, and decomposing bodies.

The country has long been considered a failed state, where the government holds only tenuous control and is unable to deliver even the most basic services to the public. Street gangs are believed to now control over 80% of the territory in the capital city. Last week, gangs attacked two prisons, freeing at least 3,000 inmates who have now undoubtedly become participants in the street violence. Other governmental institutions, such as police stations, the presidential palace, and the interior ministry have come under attack. At present, gangs are struggling to gain control of the country’s primary seaport and airport. Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who left the country seeking international law enforcement assistance, remains unable to return.

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