Residents of Plaine du Cul-de-Sac fleeing the Croix-des-Bouquets area due to gang shootouts. Photo by Ralph Tedy Erol

PLAINE DU CUL-DE SAC, Haiti — Jean, his two sisters and his mother woke up to a sudden crack of heavy gunshots on April 24. With no other options, he spent four days unable to leave his home to put to safety his mother who has a cardiac condition and his sisters paralyzed with fear.

“I spent four days cloistered at home, unable to go out with my mother who is cardiac and my two sisters. At one point, we did not have anything left to eat and drink. I drank my piss and ate the seasoning maggi cubes,” said Jean, who preferred to be referred to as this pseudonym for safety issues.

Jean’s family is among thousands of residents of La Plaine du Cul-de-Sac in the Croix-des-Bouquets commune, north of Port-au-Prince, who left their home fleeing their neighborhood en masse to go stay in open air public parks, family and friends after gang battles erupted two weeks earlier between the gangs of Chen Mechan, or Mad Dog, and 400 Mawozo.

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Murdith Joseph is a social worker and journalist. She studied at the State University of Haiti and Maurice Communication. She first worked as a journalist presenter and reporter for Radio Sans Fin (RSF) then as a journalist reporter for Radio tele pacific and writting for the daily Le National. Today she joined the Haitian Times team and covers the news in Port-Au-Prince-Haiti.