Hunger, Displacement Surge in Haiti With Intervention Plan Delayed

(Bloomberg) -- Rampant violence has forced an additional 40,000 people from their homes in Haiti’s capital, with plans for a Kenyan-led security force bogged down by legal challenges.

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Hundreds of civilians have been killed “and tens of thousands have been chased from their homes” in neighborhoods around Port-au-Prince in the last two and half months, the United Nations’ World Food Programme said Monday.

In total, more than 200,000 people in the Caribbean country of 11.7 million have now been displaced, and 44% are facing life-threatening hunger.

“Even before this most recent wave of displacement, Haiti was already in the midst of its worst humanitarian crisis since the 2010 earthquake,” Jean-Martin Bauer, the UN agency’s country director in Haiti, said in a statement appealing for more funding. “Economic woes and climate-related stressors are important factors, but the main driver of hunger in Haiti is violence and insecurity.”

Haiti has been asking for security help for more than a year, with the national police unable to control well-armed gangs that have seized large swathes of the capital.

The UN Security Council approved plans on Oct. 2 for Kenya to send an estimated 1,000 troops to Haiti to help quell the violence and pave the way for long-delayed elections.

But those plans are facing legal challenges in Nairobi. According to local press reports, Kenya’s top court has scheduled a hearing on the constitutionality of the deployment for Nov. 9, and the country’s national assembly has yet to debate the measure.

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