PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haiti’s security situation is potentially volatile, the United Nations warned Tuesday, after an armed group of men attacked a food convoy.
Haitian police have increased their own patrols and are accompanying UN police as frustration grows at the slow pace of aid since the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed at least 150,000 people.
Most of the quake victims are still living outside in squalid tents of sheets and sticks, many forced to scramble for food and water. Mobs have stolen food and looted goods from their neighbours in the camps, prompting may to band together or stay awake at night to prevent raids.
“The overall security situation across the country remains stable but potentially volatile,” the UN mission said in a statement Tuesday.
About 20 armed men blockaded a street Saturday and attacked a convoy carrying food from the airport in the southern city of Jeremie, according to UN spokesman Vicenzo Pugliese. UN and Haitian officers fired warning gunshots and the men fled the scene, Pugliese said. No injuries were reported.
In Jacmel, also a southern city, 33 escaped prisoners were apprehended Sunday, the UN said. Many prisoners escaped when prisons collapsed.
While Haitians are still mourning friends and relatives, many still unburied, anger at the government’s sluggish response to the quake is feeding political resentment.
Hundreds gathered Monday at a gravel pit in Titanyen where countless earthquake victims have been dumped, turning a remembrance ceremony for the dead into one of the first organized political rallies since the disaster.
Many denounced President Rene Preval and called for the return of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
“Preval has done nothing for this country, nothing for the victims,” said Jean Delcius, 54, who was bused to the memorial service by Aristide’s development foundation. “We need someone new to take charge here. If it’s not Aristide, then someone competent.”