Violent riots on the streets of Haiti following the presidential election results are said to be worse than in previous years. For security reasons, SOS Children's Villages has temporarily closed its Schools in Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien. One teenage girl who lives in the SOS Youth Home in Cap Haitien received minor injuries in the violent clashes.
Immediately after the results of the presidential elections were published late on 7 December, rumours about impending demonstrations and riots began. The next day, public life came to a standstill - there was no public transportation and airports closed. SOS Children's Villages' staff reported that protesters had started fires and set up barricades. The violent clashes have already claimed several lives. On 8 December, the SOS Schools in Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien remained closed. Students, teachers and staff were not able to come to School because of protests in the streets.
In order to provide a secure environment it is necessary to decide on a day-by-day basis whether or not to open the SOS projects: "It is important that everyone stays inside", said Dionisio Pereira, the Director of SOS Children's Villages Haiti. "People already know when those security measures need to be taken, on days like today everyone stays at home. We are staying inside the premises of the SOS Children's Village Santo as well, continually screening media reports on the situation from our temporary offices here".
Arrol Francois, the Director of the SOS Children's Village in the northern city of Cap Haitien, reported that a girl was wounded in violent protests in the streets. The teenager, who lives in an SOS Youth Home, was trying to go to school in the morning of 8 December, when she and her colleagues happened upon an ongoing riot and she was hurt by someone throwing a glass bottle. The girl received immediate medical attention and her injuries are not severe.
As riots take place all over the country, SOS Children is constantly monitoring the situation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children in our care. Depending on developments over the next days, a decision will be taken on when to reopen schools and offices.