PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, November 17, 2023—A new outbreak of violence between rival armed groups is affecting neighborhoods of Cité Soleil, a section of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with several hundred thousand residents.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has treated about 50 people wounded in Cité Soleil since November 13, while the violence has severely reduced the availability of medical care in the area.
MSF's Cité Soleil emergency hospital is currently the only functioning medical facility in the area after the recent closure of the Fontaine Hospital for an indefinite period. The Fontaine Hospital is a private facility in Cité Soleil, not affiliated with MSF, that was caught in the middle of clashes on November 15. All the patients and staff of Fontaine Hospital have now been transferred to other hospitals in Port-au-Prince.
Pregnant women, among other patients, now find themselves in a perilous situation. MSF teams in Cité Soleil have most often referred pregnant women to Fontaine Hospital to give birth. Saint Damiens, a maternity center in Port-au-Prince, also closed in late October, mainly due to insecurity.
MSF was also forced to temporarily close its outpatient clinic and reduce its medical teams in Cité Soleil to limit the risks for staff, patients, and facilities during these periods of particularly intense and indiscriminate violence. However, MSF's Cité Soleil emergency hospital remains open to provide emergency services.
“Once again, the population is paying a high price during these clashes between armed groups," said Mumuza Muhindo Musubao, MSF head of mission in Haiti. "Some of the residents are forced to leave their homes to seek shelter. Medical facilities can no longer function normally and sick people can no longer reach them, and risk being left behind. MSF reiterates its call to all armed parties to spare the population and respect hospitals and medical facilities, as well as people who work there and are treated there.”
MSF in Haiti
MSF is an international medical and humanitarian organization that provides assistance to people in need, irrespective of their origin, religion, creed, or political convictions. We have worked in Haiti since 1990, with major responses to disasters such as the 2010 earthquake and subsequent cholera outbreaks. We currently provide care for patients with traumatic injuries, burns, and emergency medical conditions, as well as for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and people seeking general health care and maternity care.