'Barbecue', one of the most prominent faces of the violence
'Barbecue', one of the most prominent faces of the violence plaguing Haiti, is considered the most powerful leader. Clarens Siffroy/AFP

The criminal organizations that control most of Haiti's capital launched a fresh round of attacks in the city over the weekend, with different outlets reporting arson and heavy gunfire ahead of the installation of a transitional council tasked with facing them.

Reuters described the Lower Delmas area as a "battlefield between police and armed gangs," with automatic gunfire being heard near the National Palace.

Reuters described voice recordings on social media attributed to Jimmy "Barbeque" Chérizier, a top gang leader, apparently ordering his soldiers to burn down houses in Lower Delmas. The outlet couldn't verify the recording, but a local confirmed that houses there were on fire.

The renewed violence has exacerbated the already precarious humanitarian situation in the country, where more than 2,500 people have been killed or injured between January and March.

The Associated Press has described life in Port-au-Prince as a "game of survival," with Haitians scrambling to stay safe and alive. Much of that involves finding food and water, as vital resources run thin and humanitarian organizations are increasingly unable to meet the needs of thousands of people.

"People living in the capital are locked in, they have nowhere to go," Philippe Branchat, International Organization for Migration chief in Haiti, said in a recent statement.

Meanwhile, Haitian authorities formed a transitional council tasked with, among other things, addressing widespread violence, naming a new Prime Minister and setting a date for presidential elections in 2026.

Its members were announced last week, revealing the names of those with voting power and observers. The measure had been delayed after the members claimed that outgoing Prime Minister Ariel Henry changed the terms of their agreement to continue in power.

The council's members should be sworn in at the National Palace, but so far a date has not been announced while violence rages on.

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