>> Harold Isaac and Natalie Kitroeff, The New York Times
Published: 2021-09-20 02:32:55 BdST
The head of Haiti’s national migration office, Jean Negot Bonheur Delva, said authorities expect that 14,000 Haitians would be expelled from the United States over the coming three weeks. Officials said they were preparing to receive three flights of migrants just on Sunday to the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
“The Haitian state is not really capable to receive these deportees,” said Bonheur Delva in an interview.
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July. A month later, the country’s impoverished southern peninsula was devastated by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake, forcing the Caribbean nation’s unstable government to confront the fallout of a deadly natural disaster.
Traditionally, most Haitian migrants have fled violence and economic deprivation in the capital Port-au-Prince, where about half the country’s population lives. But a more recent wave of immigrants have fled from the quake-stricken areas.
According to a United Nations report released last week, 800,000 people were impacted by the quake, and a month later, 650,000 are still in need of emergency humanitarian assistance.
Many of the Haitians being deported from the US are probably going to return to southern villages and towns destroyed by the earthquake and where running water and power have yet to be restored.
Bonheur Delva said “ongoing security issues in the country” made it extremely difficult to resettle thousands of people. He said the country could not adequately provide security or food to the returnees and said the COVID-19 pandemic further complicated the country’s ability to accept so many people at once.
“I am asking for a humanitarian moratorium,” he said. “The situation is very difficult.”
Typically, Bonheur Delva said, the country hosts deportees for up to 48 hours in order to process their arrival into the country. It was unclear how officials would be able to do so if the United States follows through on plans to send up to four flights a day.
“Will we have all that logistics?” Bonheur Delva said. “Will we have enough to feed these people?”
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