Fighting between gangs in recent days has killed at least 20 people, injured nearly two dozen others, and forced thousands to flee their homes, according to Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency on Wednesday.
Officials said the fighting began Sunday in four neighborhoods north of the international airport in the capital of Port-au-Prince. As thousands of people fled their communities, at least a dozen homes were burned down, with some temporarily residing in the yard of a local mayor’s office.
Authorities said an eight-person family, including six children, was among those killed since Sunday. Schools and businesses in the area are still closed, as thousands of families with children have taken up residence in a park near the mayor’s office.
One bullet also struck an empty United Nations Humanitarian Air Service helicopter stationed near the airport, according to authorities.
Gang violence in the Martissant neighborhood of southern Port-au-Prince has already cut off access to the country’s southern region, which is still reeling from the effects of last year’s deadly earthquake.