On 24 April, extremely violent clashes swept across the centre of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in areas that had until then been relatively unaffected by gang warfare. Hundreds of people had to flee their homes and run for their lives due to attacks on neighbourhoods, shootings, buildings being set on fire and looting.
Many people in the community have been injured by bullets. Some people had to take up arms in self-defence, leading to more chaos. As a result of the violence, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams treated about 50 gunshot or stab wound victims in 24 hours. Most patients were admitted to the MSF Turgeau hospital for stabilisation and then referred to the MSF Tabarre facility for surgery and/or hospitalisation.
“We received a 15 year-old girl who, after fleeing her home which was on fire with both her legs badly burnt, was shot in the right thigh,” says an MSF team member from Tabarre hospital.
“She arrived to the hospital in a state of haemorrhagic shock. We realised that the only solution for her was amputation,” he says.
“We often see this type of injury here. Just opposite her room, in the intensive care unit, there is a patient with exactly the same problem.”
The situation appears to have calmed down for now. However, the fighting is still ongoing in Cité Soleil. We have received reports of people suffering from gunshot wounds in need of urgent medical care in Brooklyn, a neighbourhood in Cité Soleil controlled by one gang and encircled by another, which makes it inaccessible. So far, fighting has prevented our teams from evacuating seven people with gunshot wounds from the area of Cité Soleil.