On Saturday, July 7, the Haitian government postponed a planned fuel price hike after civil unrest and violence had intensified across the country in protest.
The Haitian daily newspaper, Le Nouvelliste, reported that prices for gasoline were expected to rise 38% while diesel prices were anticipated to increase 47% and kerosene as much as 51% in an effort to balance the national budget.
Haitian Prime Minister, Jack Guy Lafontant, repealed the tax increases the day after protests erupted in the streets and escalating mayhem ensued in Port-au-Prince and the northern city of Cap-Haitien.
With the nation’s capital mostly in lockdown, stores and hotels were looted and vandalized. Cars were being hijacked and burned. Many people lost electricity for days. Two protesters were fatally shot by authorities and a security guard was beaten to death by demonstrators after attempting to disperse a crowd by firing his gun into the air.
While the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince is in operation, barricades and riots are blocking the roads and public transportation is suspended in the capital, leaving many youth groups and missionaries from churches around the U.S. unable to get home.
“The greatest impact is the nagging uncertainty,” said Bright Hope Haiti staff member, Suzette. “People in the cities or hot areas leave their homes not knowing if they can get through roadblocks or if violence will break out. Our partners have family members who have been stranded just as ours [have].”
She reports that the biggest problem for many living in crowded areas is water.
“People are unable to get any water locally and are venturing out on foot to find it,” she said.
Thankfully Bright Hope projects and partner churches have not been adversely affected.
“The communities where we work are impacted mainly by those who had children or family working in nearby cities that may have been stranded until today,” she said. “In the north, the banks have reopened and traffic is circulating again.”
As the conflict continues, please join with us in praying:
- For the safety of everyone caught in the conflict and for a peaceful resolution
- For roads to open up and enough stability that Pastor Fritz can travel to Ferrier and host the scheduled Bright Hope youth music camp later this week. Please pray for the safety of the children and for the staff who will be leaving their families to help this exciting program.
- For food and water to be readily accessible as roads have had decreased access due to protests
- For families who are currently separated because of the violence, to be reunited. And also for Pastor Fritz whose sister was forced to seek shelter at a nearby colleague’s house for days when she encountered roadblocks and could not reach her neighbourhood.