Haitians desperate for food have looted a humanitarian convoy and clashed over donations nearly a week after a destructive tremor killed more than 2,100 people.
US-based aid organization Food for the Poor said four of its trucks were attacked by local residents and looted on Friday as they delivered food and water to rural communities in the south of the impoverished Caribbean island nation.
In the hard-hit city of Les Cayes, clashes broke out Friday afternoon after former President Michel Martelly visited a local hospital and a member of his staff handed a cash-filled envelope to one person in the crowd for distribution among them, sparking a violent scramble for the money.
The kidnapping by local gangs of two doctors in the capital, including one of the few trained orthopedic surgeons in Haiti, has further deteriorated existing tensions in Latin America’s poorest country. Some hospitals protested the move by temporarily shutting down while demanding for immediate release of the doctors, according to local media reports.
Damaged or impassable roads have hindered efforts to deliver aid to remote parts in the south of the country, which were hardest-hit by last Saturday's 7.2 magnitude earthquake. With hundreds still missing, there are little hopes for finding anyone still alive.
"We are all absolutely overwhelmed," Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry declared during a meeting with the Washington-based Organization of American States, noting that some communities had been flattened. "Every commune, every city, every village in that area was very hard hit."
Henry, who rose to power after the assassination last month of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise by American and Colombian elements and mercenaries, thanked foreign allies for sending assistance.
Last Saturday's quake destroyed tens of thousands of homes and claimed the lives of at least 2,189 people. Some 332 people are missing, while 12,200 people were injured, authorities said.
This is while Haiti is still recovering from a 2010 quake that killed over 200,000 people.
A powerful storm this week that triggered landslides made the search for victims even harder.