Haiti-US Refugee Crisis Rep. Pic
This is a representational image. Julie Ricard/Unsplash.

Haiti's government announced Thursday that it would extend the state of emergency around the capital Port-au-Prince due to a surge in gang violence, while the United Nations' humanitarian affairs agency warned that the country's health system is "near collapse."

The state of emergency, initially declared for 72 hours on Sunday after thousands of inmates escaped from prisons with the assistance of armed gangs, will now be extended until April 3. This decision comes as gang members have threatened to destroy the government, resulting in thousands of individuals fleeing their homes.

Additionally, the night curfew will remain in effect until March 11.

The government said in a statement that this is being done to "reestablish order and take appropriate measures to retake control of the situation," as per Reuters.

The UN agency, on the other hand, said on Thursday that the World Food Program (WFP) and its partners have delivered over 7,600 meals to displaced people, while the International Organization for Migration has provided emergency shelter material to more than 650 families, as per the official website.

Furthermore, the displaced children and families are getting psychosocial support via hotlines. However, the agency noted that the health system is near collapse as many healthcare facilities are shut or have drastically reduced their operations due to a shortage of medicines and fewer staff.

Aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders) said that at least 2,300 people lost their lives in the violence last year, in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Cite Soleil alone.

"It is likely the real scale of the violence is much higher," MSF said.

A Haitian MSF staff member said, "I'm used to seeing people killed. I'm used to seeing bodies on the ground. I'm used to seeing charred corpses. I'm used to hearing bangs. Sometimes it's someone you know."

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