United Nations peacekeepers have this morning helped local police in Haiti capture 30 criminals who had escaped from prison in the wake of January’s catastrophic earthquake and subsequently infiltrated a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the capital.
Working with the Haitian National Police (HNP), more than 350 military and police staff serving with the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) raided the Jean-Marie Vincent camp for IDPs near the notorious Cité Soleil neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince shortly after 5 a.m.
The operation was the largest security action conducted by MINUSTAH since the 12 January quake, which killed an estimated 200,000 Haitians and destroyed or substantially damaged the homes of millions of others. Many prison inmates also escaped from jail in the aftermath of the disaster.
In a press statement MINUSTAH said the raid was conducted following an upsurge in violence inside the IDP camp that was linked to the prison escapees.
Following the quake the Security Council authorized the mission to have an additional 15,000 UN Police (UNPOL) and 2,000 military personnel.
Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is stepping up its work-for-food and work-for-cash projects in Haiti. Under the scheme, each labourer receives enough food rations for a family of five. In the next month the agency hopes to more than double the number of individual recipients to 70,000.
In another development, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has dispatched its ad hoc advisory group on Haiti to the Caribbean country to assess the recovery efforts so far and determine whether future assistance should be concentrated. The group is scheduled to wrap up its four-day visit tomorrow.