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  • Writer's pictureFrantz Alcema,

Report: Gang violence displaces thousands in Port-au-Prince

Escalating gang violence has pushed nearly 8,500 women and children from their homes in Port-au-Prince in the past two weeks, according to a UNICEF report.

Officials say the gangs’ fight over territory in Martissant has forced hundreds of families to abandon burned or ransacked homes in impoverished communities, with many of them staying in gymnasiums and other temporary shelters that are running out of water, food and items like blankets and clothes.

Bruno Maes, Haiti’s representative for the U.N.’s children agency that issued the report late Monday, compared the effect to guerrilla warfare, “with thousands of children and women caught in the crossfire.” Nearly 14,000 people in Port-au-Prince have been displaced by violence in the past nine months, according to the U.N. office overseeing humanitarian coordination.

Families with young children have been sleeping on concrete floors of a gymnasium in the Carrefour neighborhood, with only a sheet serving as a bed and their scant belongings stuffed into bags nearby.

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