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US to allocate $33 million for security mission in Haiti

US to allocate $33 million for security mission in Haiti US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (photo: Getty Images)

The US will allocate an additional $100 million to the UN Multinational Security Forces, aimed at assisting the Haitian police in combating gangs, as well as $33 million in humanitarian aid. Thus, Washington's total assistance will exceed $300 million, states US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.

As of Monday, less than $11 million had been deposited into the U.N.'s dedicated trust fund, a spokesperson for the world body said, with no new additions since March 3 when Haiti declared a state of emergency due to the worsening violence from gangs seeking to topple the government.

During a hastily arranged visit to Kingston, Blinken said it was a critical moment for Haiti and expressed hope that progress would be made.

US officials have been engaged in talks involving Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states and members of Haiti's political parties, private sector, civil society, and religious groups aimed at establishing a transitional council that would pave the way to the first elections since 2016.

The United Nations estimates over 362,000 people have been internally displaced, half of whom are children, and thousands have been killed in the overall conflict in Haiti, with widespread reports of rape, torture and ransom kidnappings since 2021.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Washington was looking to expedite the deployment of the planned security mission, which Kenya was offered to lead.

What preceded it

The unrest in the country began in late February after Haiti's acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry flew to Kenya to coordinate the deployment of a foreign contingent to combat gangs. The group declared war on the prime minister, paralyzing life in the capital and demanding Henry's resignation.

According to media reports, gangs control most of the capital and transportation routes in the rest of the country. On March 4, a state of emergency was declared in the country and a curfew was imposed in the capital after gangs seized two prisons and freed about 4,000 inmates, including those involved in the murder of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in 2021.

By March 9, Haitian gangs had united and launched a series of attacks on government buildings, police stations, the Ministry of Interior building, and the presidential palace in the capital. About a dozen attackers were killed in the fighting.