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Gang leader offers truce to help Haiti earthquake relief efforts as death toll passes 2,200

Written by on 23/08/2021

A gang leader is offering a truce to help earthquake relief efforts in Haiti as the number of people killed passes more than 2,200.

Gangs have been obstructing roads, hijacking aid trucks and stealing food, water and medical supplies since the disaster struck.

Desperate crowds have reportedly been fighting over limited bags of food.

FILE - In this May 24, 2019 file photo, Barbecue, whose real name is Jimmy Cherizier, sits at his house during an interview with AP, in Lower Delmas, a district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He's a former policeman, a suspect in the massacre of dozens of men, women and children and a hero in his neighborhood, followed by crowds of adoring residents who consider him their protector. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, File)
Image: Jimmy Cherizier, alias Barbecue, said his gangs will bring victims aid. Pic: AP

To avoid bandits and reach remote rural areas, Haitian authorities have been using a UN helicopter and eight US aircraft to deliver aid.

There are doubts over whether crime boss Jimmy Cherizier’s peace offering will be honoured given that previously reported gang truces have failed to prevent attacks on the aid effort.

Mr Cherizier, also known as “Barbecue”, is a former police officer who now leads “G9”, a federation of nine gangs that officials have blamed for a spike in violence and kidnappings in recent months.

A suspect in numerous massacres of citizens in recent years, among other crimes for which he was sanctioned late last year by the US, Mr Cherizier often depicts himself as a community leader filling the void left by weak institutions.

More on Earthquakes

In a video posted on Facebook, he said he wanted to tell affected communities that “the G9 Revolutionary Forces and allies, all for one and one for all, sympathise with their pain and sorrows”.

Mr Cherizier said the G9 and its allies will bring aid and invited “all compatriots” to “show solidarity with the victims by trying to share what little there is with them”.

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Devastation left behind after Haiti earthquake

At least 2,207 people have been killed in the earthquake, with another 344 missing and 12,268 injured.

The earthquake destroyed or damaged about 130,000 homes, hammering infrastructure and cutting off roads.

Many survivors are worried about how they will take care of their children, with more than half a million youngsters feared to be at risk due to the disaster’s financial impact on families.

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Haiti hospitals struggle with earthquake casualties

A field hospital had to be erected in Les Cayes after three of the 10 operating rooms that serve the region were not functional after the earthquake.

Helicopters transported four seriously injured patients to the hospital from remote areas on Sunday.

At the public hospital across town, space is limited and some victims are being treated on beds outside the wards.

Others with less serious injuries are sitting on the ground on pieces of cardboard.

 Sky News

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