On Wednesday, a hospital in Haiti found itself besieged by a heavily armed gang, leading to the confinement of the patients inside, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The report stated that the Fontaine Hospital, situated in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, serves as a safe haven for local residents who have been grappling with escalating violence perpetrated by gangs.
The director of the hospital, Jose Ulysse, told the AP that gangs were setting homes on fire in the vicinity of the hospital and obstructing the exit of people within. While he initially indicated that it seemed some gang members had entered the hospital, he later clarified that they did not actually go inside.
Ulysse additionally said that members of Haiti’s National Police arrived with armored trucks to evacuate 110 individuals to a secure location in a more protected area of the city. Among those relocated were children dependent on oxygen, he added.
The poverty-stricken island nation has seen an uptick in gang related violence that has been so profound that in February of this year, Prime Minister Ariel Henry asked the United Nations for formal security assistance.
On July 27, the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti ordered some diplomatic staff to return to the United States citing the dangers of kidnapping, crime, and civil unrest. Gunfighting by rival gangs caused the embassy to temporarily close in August.