Ten years after devastating quake, Haitians struggle to survive

By Stefanie Eschenbacher

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Every morning as the sun rises over the dusty, overgrown ruins of the Haitian capital’s iconic cathedral, Paul Christandro, who lived nearby all his life, thinks about the day ten years ago when he watched it come down, killing his friends.

On Jan. 12, 2010, the impoverished island nation was struck by a devastating earthquake that killed tens of thousands and left many more homeless. It lasted just 35 seconds, but its scars are still visible.

International organizations pledged billions of dollars in aid as the scale of the disaster became obvious, though with Christandro and many others still in temporary housing its use has come under intense scrutiny.

Bad governance, excessive bureaucracy, waste and inflated contracts that were given mostly to foreign companies have been blamed for the lack of progress, which was hampered further by corruption and political power struggles.

“Every day when I get up, I think about it,” said the 23-year-old Christandro under the scorching Caribbean sun in the capital Port-au-Prince.

The panicked screams of people buried under the rubble remain as ingrained in his memory as the silent facial expressions of those killed, he said.

“I think about my friends and wonder what I should do with my life,” said Christandro, an electrician who, like so many in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, tries to make ends meet working ad-hoc jobs or scavenging.

Estimates of the number of dead vary widely, from below 100,000 to as high as the government’s 316,000. There is also no consensus over how much aid Haiti actually received – or what constitutes aid – but most experts put it at more than $10 billion.

Outside the cathedral, often called Haiti’s Notre Dame for its impressive architecture and meticulous detail, he shares a mattress and a roof made from thin plastic sheets with friends who lost their homes and belongings.

‘A NEW SETTLEMENT’

Others left the chaos of the capital to start over. In Canaan, a one-hour motor bike ride away, more than 300,000 people settled on what was once a pristine hillside. There, construction work is ubiquitous.

“The earthquake has given us a new settlement,” President Jovenel Moise told Reuters in an interview. He called for better collaboration between aid donors and recipients. The Haitian government received only a fraction of the aid.

Among the many new arrivals to the hillside settlement is the Louis family, who built a home from wood panels and a tin roof. Now, they are working on a concrete construction. Daughter Christelle Louis was seven years old when their house collapsed as she was doing her homework.

“I didn’t understand what was happening. It was the first time I felt an earthquake, and my leg was injured,” she said. The high school student, who dreams of becoming a doctor, said Canaan offered her family a fresh start.

In Haiti, a country that was extremely poor even before the earthquake, nearly 60% of the population survives on less than $2.40 a day. Due to a combination of weather, geography and sub-standard construction, Haiti is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, which have eroded progress.

Moise, who became president in 2017, said he was unsure how aid money had been spent. “We don’t have much to show for it.”

In Camp Karade near Port-au-Prince, which was first set up as an emergency shelter, there is now electricity in many makeshift houses and public access to clean water via tanks from which residents can fill canisters.

Hip hop and Creole rhythms blasted from giant speakers and goats ambled around trash heaps piling up between temporary constructions that have morphed into seemingly permanent housing.

Eliese Desca, 66, one of many Haitians who lost their homes, said she had little hope that things would change for the better. “Our lives revolve around finding something to eat,” she said.

Jake Johnston, a senior research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research who specializes in Haiti, said that while the total amount of promised foreign aid was large, little trickled down to those on the ground.

The money helped to save lives but did not achieve the overall transformation many sought, Johnston said.

“The aid system is broken,” he said. “At least there is a recognition that it has been a failure.”

(Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher in Port-au-Prince; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Bill Berkrot)

Haiti quake kills at least 14, aftershock jolts nervous residents

People injured in an earthquake that hit northern Haiti late on Saturday, are being looked after in a tent, in Port-de-Paix, Haiti, October 7, 2018. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas

By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-DE-PAIX (Reuters) – An earthquake hit northern Haiti late on Saturday, killing at least 14 people and sparking a scramble by rescue agencies to help residents of the worst-hit towns in the impoverished Caribbean country.

A local official said at least eight people died in Port-de-Paix on the northern coast near the epicenter of the magnitude 5.9 quake, which struck at a depth of 11.7 kilometers (7.3 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Four people were killed in and around the town of Gros-Morne farther south, local authorities said, including a woman who died from a heart attack suffered after the quake.

Another person was killed in the town of Chansolme when a house collapsed and one other person in Saint-Louis-du-Nord. Rescue teams fanned out to help residents, many of whom were still dealing with the trauma of a devastating earthquake in 2010.

A magnitude 5.2 aftershock on Sunday afternoon sent people rushing into the street in Port-de-Paix, with many vowing that they would not sleep inside their houses that night.

Marie Lourdes Estainvil, 45, raised her hands and loudly sang, “Jesus, we need your presence among us!” as others gathered.

There were no immediate reports of further damage from the aftershock.

President Jovenel Moise said he would send additional police and military to the region, promising to assist the families of victims.

Some houses in the worst-affected areas were destroyed by the earthquake, the agency said. The full extent of the damage was not clear though in parts of Port-de-Paix residents tried to go about their business normally on Sunday.

A local government representative said 152 people were injured in Port-de-Paix, and the most seriously hurt were taken by air ambulance to the capital Port-au-Prince for treatment. Another 30 were injured in Gros-Morne.

Among the damaged buildings was a church in the northern town of Plaisance, the civil protection agency said, adding that additional food and medical supplies were on their way to the most battered towns.

The tremor was one of the strongest to batter Haiti since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck near the capital in 2010. It killed tens of thousands of people.

(Additional reporting by Chelsie Jean Baptiste Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Bill Trott and Cynthia Osterman)

Judge bars U.S. from ending protections for immigrants from four countries

Paint is seen on cars before members of the Teamsters Union participate in a tractor trailer caravan surrounding the LA Metro Detention Center in support of port truck drivers and others threatened by deportation if the courts or congress don't stop the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in Los Angeles, California, U.S. October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Kyle Grillot

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge in California barred the Trump administration on Wednesday from implementing a plan to end temporary protections for more than 300,000 immigrants in the United States from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan.

U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen issued a preliminary injunction in a suit brought by a number of immigrants with temporary protected status, or TPS.

The TPS designation offers protection from deportation to immigrants already in the United States, including those who entered illegally, from countries affected by natural disasters, civil conflicts, and other problems.

The government has failed to establish any real harm if “the status quo (which has been in existence for as long as two decades) is maintained during the pendency of this litigation,” Chen wrote in the order.

“Indeed, if anything, Plaintiffs and amici have established without dispute that local and national economies will be hurt if hundreds of thousands of TPS beneficiaries are uprooted and removed,” he said.

There are more than 263,000 TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador, 58,000 from Haiti, 5,000 from Nicaragua and 1,000 from Sudan, according to court documents.

The Trump administration has shown a deep skepticism toward the temporary protected status program and has moved to revoke the special status afforded to thousands of immigrants from a number of countries, including the four named in the suit.

Salvadoran immigrants covered by TPS will lose their protected status in September 2019, those from Haiti in July 2019, Nicaraguan immigrants in January 2019 and Sudanese immigrants in November 2019.

(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Paul Tait)

New Mexico compound member in U.S. illegally over 20 years: government

A view of the compound in rural New Mexico where 11 children were taken in protective custody after a raid by authorities near Amalia, New Mexico, August 10, 2018. Photo taken August 10, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Hay

TAOS, N.M. (Reuters) – A Haitian woman who was charged with child abuse at a New Mexico compound has been taken into custody by immigration authorities after living in the United States illegally for over 20 years, federal officials said on Wednesday.

Jany Leveille, 35, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Taos County on Tuesday and must appear before a judge to resolve her immigration status, according to a statement by ICE.

The immigration proceeding, which could lead to Leveille’s deportation, follows a raid on the compound Aug. 3 in which police said they found 11 children living in dirty conditions with no food or water. Three days later, police unearthed the body of a toddler at the ramshackle settlement north of Taos.

“Leveille has been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 20 years after overstaying the validity of her non-immigrant visitor visa,” an ICE statement said.

Kelly Golightley, Leveille’s lawyer, declined comment.

Leveille moved to Brooklyn from Haiti in 1998 after their father died, according to her brother Von Chelet Leveille. She then moved several times between Georgia, Philadelphia and New York, following her separation from her first husband, Von Chelet Leveille said in a phone interview from Haiti.

Leveille had lived at the compound near Amalia, New Mexico since January with her husband Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and children, according to prosecutors. Her six children range in age between 1 and 15, her brother said.

Leveille, Ibn Wahhaj and three other adults at the compound were charged with child abuse on Aug. 8 and their 11 children were taken into protective custody.

The body found at the compound is believed to be that of Ibn Wahhaj’s severely ill 3-year-old son, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj. Ibn Wahhaj is accused of abducting the boy from a second wife in Georgia in December. Prosecutors allege the boy later died as Ibn Wahhaj carried out a faith-healing ritual on him at the compound.

Prosecutors have accused Ibn Wahhaj of leading firearms training of two teenage boys at the compound to carry out attacks on schools, banks, and police.

Lawyers for the five defendants say they are being discriminated against because they are black Muslims who practiced faith healing and taught their children how to shoot. Neighbors and relatives dispute allegations the children were starving.

A district judge received death threats on Tuesday after she granted bail to the defendants.

(Reporting by Andrew Hay; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Lisa Shumaker)

Haitian civil unrest enters third day despite fuel hike reversal

People run away as police uses tear gas to disperse people in a street of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

By Andres Martinez Casares

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Protesters blocked streets in Haiti on Sunday while many damaged or looted stores stayed closed for a third day following anger over steep fuel price increases in the Caribbean nation.

The mostly young protesters used felled trees and large rocks to block roads, as well as piles of tires set on fire, some of which still smoldered on Sunday, sending up thick clouds of black smoke.

Police used tear gas to disperse crowds in some places.

The charred remains of cars could be seen in several spots around the sprawling capital, including in front of the Best Western and Oasis hotels, in the capital’s southern hilltop suburb of Petion-Ville, as well as near the offices of telecommunications company Natcom.

The U.S. embassy warned its citizens to avoid the unrest in the capital Port-au-Prince and reschedule travel plans as several airlines canceled flights.

Two burnt buses are seen inside the customs facilities in Malpasse, Haiti, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

Two burnt buses are seen inside the customs facilities in Malpasse, Haiti, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

At the Toussaint Louverture international airport, dozens of stranded travelers camped out waiting for flights to resume, lounging on suitcases.

Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant announced the temporary suspension of double-digit government hikes to prices for gasoline, diesel and kerosene on Saturday afternoon – just a day after they were announced – but the unrest continued.

Across the capital, few cars and motorcycles were moving on the rubble-strewn streets on Sunday, while broken windows and damaged buildings were a common sight.

At a shopping center in Petion-Ville, police tried to secure shops, with broken glass and merchandise scattered on the floor.

Both the Canadian and Mexican embassies in Haiti announced that they would be closed on Monday.

The decision to raise fuel prices was part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, which requires the impoverished country to enact measures to boost government revenue and services and strengthen the country’s economy.

“Due to continuing demonstrations, roadblocks, and violence across Port-au-Prince, as well as short staffing at the airports, embassy personnel have been instructed to re-book any flights originally scheduled for Sunday,” the U.S. embassy said in a statement.

A boy carrying his bicycle passes through a barricade on the outskirts of Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

A boy carrying his bicycle passes through a barricade on the outskirts of Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

A spokesman for U.S. carrier American Airlines Group Inc said it had canceled three out of seven round trip flights scheduled to stop in Port-au-Prince on Sunday.

The carrier’s Sunday route to Haiti’s Cap-Haitien airport had not been canceled.

JetBlue Airways Corp also canceled its flights to Haiti on Sunday.

Haiti’s Commerce and Economic ministries Friday said they would lower fuel subsidies in a bid to generate more tax revenue to better fund government services, which translated to a 38 percent jump for gasoline and 47 percent for diesel.

(Reporting by Andres Martinez Casares in Port-au-Prince; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and James Dalgleish)

U.S. extends ‘temporary protected status’ to Haitians until January

FILE PHOTO: A Flag from Haiti is pictured in a local store as a woman walks under rain at the neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York, U.S. May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

By Julia Edwards Ainsley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will allow more than 50,000 victims of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake to remain in the United States with work authorizations until January 2018, department officials told reporters on Monday.

The Obama administration first granted protections to Haitians who arrived in the United States within a year of the devastating earthquake and the group’s status has since been extended.

Three DHS officials, who agreed to speak to reporters only on the condition of anonymity, said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has assessed the situation in Haiti and believes conditions there are improving but still necessitate protected status for Haitians living in the United States.

The officials said, however, that Haitians in the United States under what is known as temporary protected status should begin acquiring travel documents to return to Haiti, noting that DHS has not committed to extending protections past January.

U.S. law allows DHS to grant temporary protected status to citizens of countries ravaged by violence, disease and natural disasters.

Other countries designated for temporary protected status include Sudan, Somalia, Syria, El Salvador, Nepal and Yemen.

The Department of Homeland Security will issue a notice to the Federal Register to extend temporary protected status within the coming days. After a 60-day period, Haitians under the status will be given new work authorizations valid until January.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Dan Grebler)

U.N. votes to close, replace Haiti peacekeeping mission

U.N. peacekeepers walk along a street during a patrol with Haitian national police officers and members of UNPOL (United Nations Police) in the neighborhood of Cite Soleil, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 3, 2017. Picture taken March 3, 2017. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

By Rodrigo Campos

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to end its 13-year-long peacekeeping mission in Haiti and replace it with a smaller police, which would be drawn down after two years as the country boosts its own force.

The peacekeeping mission, one of the longest running in the world and known as MINUSTAH, has been dogged by controversies, including the introduction of cholera to the island and sexual abuse claims.

The 15-member Security Council acknowledged the completion of Haiti’s presidential election, along with the inauguration of its new president, as a “major milestone towards stabilization” in the Caribbean country.

“What we now need is a newly configured mission which is focused on the rule of law and human rights in Haiti,” British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said on his way into the meeting.

“Peacekeepers do fantastic work but they are very expensive and they should be used only when needed,” Rycroft said. “We strongly support the ending of this mission turning it into something else. And I think we’ll see the same thing elsewhere.”

The shutdown of the $346 million mission, recommended by U.N. chief Antonio Guterres, comes as the United States looks to cut its funding of U.N. peacekeeping. Washington is the largest contributor, paying 28.5 percent of the total budget.

There are 2,342 U.N. troops in Haiti, who will withdraw over the coming six months. The new mission will be established for an initial six months, from Oct. 16, 2017 to April 15, 2018, and is projected to exit two years after its establishment.

Lucien Jura, a spokesman for Haitian President Jovenel Moise, paid tribute to the U.N. mission.

“The U.N. has held our hands to help us through very difficult steps, but we cannot indefinitely depend on them for the country’s security and stability,” he said.

U.N. peacekeepers were deployed to Haiti in 2004 when a rebellion led to the ouster and exile of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. It is the only U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Americas.

Haiti suffered a two-year political crisis until the recent election and inauguration of Moise as president. It has suffered major natural disasters, including an earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew last year. But the impoverished Caribbean country has not had an armed conflict in years.

U.N. peacekeepers have been accused of sexual abuse and blamed for the cholera outbreak. Haiti was free of cholera until 2010, when peacekeepers dumped infected sewage into a river.

The United Nations does not accept legal responsibility for the outbreak of the disease, which causes uncontrollable diarrhea. Some 9,300 people have died and more than 800,000 sickened due to cholera and Haiti’s government believes the United Nations still has work to do on it.

“The U.N. promised to help eradicate the disease in the country and assist families who lost their loved ones. We expect the U.N. to fulfill its commitments,” said Moise spokesman Jura.

(Additional reporting by Joseph Guyler Delva in Port-au-Prince; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and James Dalgleish)

At least 38 killed after Haiti bus plows into parade

A man looks at a bus, which drove into a parade of pedestrians, parked in the police station of Gonaives, Haiti, March 12, 2017. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – At least 38 people were killed and about a dozen injured in northern Haiti late on Saturday after a bus drove into a parade of pedestrians while fleeing from an accident, civil protection authorities said on Sunday.

The bus, which was traveling from Cap Haitien to the capital Port-au-Prince, initially hit two people in a town outside Gonaives in northern Haiti, killing one, said Joseph Faustin, civil protection head in the Artibonite department.

The bus driver then fled and crashed into three “rara” parades in Mapou, about 5 km (3 miles) away, Faustin said.

Rara parades, which usually take place around Easter, are groupings of musicians playing traditional instruments who are often joined by passers-by.

In total, 34 people were killed at the scene and an another four people died in hospital, said Fred Henry, the area’s deputy representative, who added that the incident had occurred around 4 a.m.

“Usually the drivers involved in such accidents don’t stop because they are afraid they might be killed [in reprisal],” Henry said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the accident.

The driver and passengers on the bus were taken to the police station, said Patrick Cherilus, a Civil Protection spokesman for Artibonite.

They have since been released and the bus driver has fled, said Jean Bazlais Bornelus, the police chief for the area.

After the accident, other musicians and people in the parade began hurling rocks at the bus and passing vehicles, injuring other people, said Albert Moulion, the Ministry of the Interior’s spokesman.

Haitian roads are dangerous and chaotic, with few rules observed by pedestrians, motorcyclists and drivers.

President Jovenel Moise called for an investigation into the incident.

“The head of state sends … sincere condolences to the victims’ families and loved ones,” he added.

(Reporting by Makini Brice and Joseph Guy Delva; Editing by Christine Murray and Sandra Maler)

U.S. citizens targeted after extradition of Haiti ex-coup leader

Guy Philippe marches in Haiti

By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haitian police have evacuated some 50 U.S. citizens to safety after attempted attacks by supporters of Haitian Senator-elect Guy Philippe, who was arrested and extradited to the United States last week, a police official said on Monday.

Philippe, long wanted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and remembered for his role in a 2004 coup against former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was elected senator for the southwestern Grand’Anse region in polls on Nov. 20.

But on Thursday, days before he was supposed to be sworn in, police arrested him outside of a radio station and flew him to the United States, where a Miami court charged him with money laundering and drug trafficking. Philippe denies the charges.

The extradition has stirred tensions in Grand’Anse, an area that is rebuilding after damages inflicted by Hurricane Matthew last October and where Philippe enjoys popularity.

Supporters of Philippe have clashed with political opponents in the streets, burned two police vehicles and attacked several police stations, forcing officers to flee, said Berson Soljour, a police commissioner in Grand’Anse.

Philippe supporters are also believed to have attacked two U.S. citizens who ran an orphanage and stole their passports and other belongings from their home, police officials said.

Police have evacuated more than 50 U.S. citizens to safer places in Haiti since Friday, Soljour said, who advised those who chose to stay not to leave their residences. Higher than usual numbers of U.S. citizens are in the region helping with hurricane recovery.

U.S. citizens were evacuated to a police station before moving to a United Nations base, where they waited for preparations to fly them to Port-au-Prince, Soljour said. Some have been flown to the capital, while others are still waiting.

“There are groups linked to Guy Philippe that were actively seeking to attack or capture U.S. citizens following (his) arrest and extradition,” Soljour said.

A spokesman for the U.S. embassy, Karl Adam, said the embassy was aware of the threats and has sent messages to citizens to advise them to avoid certain areas and to be particularly careful.

“I know some have decided to leave and this is not something the embassy is organizing”, Adam said.

More protests were scheduled to take place over the next several days in Grand’Anse and in Port-au-Prince, including outside the U.S. embassy.

Some 200 protesters massed at a barricade across the street from parliament on Monday as new senators were sworn into office, with about half denouncing Philippe’s arrest with slogans, T-shirts and waving signs.

(Editing by Makini Brice and Michael Perry)

Haiti awaits results of re-run vote, shattered by hurricane

Electoral workers are seen during vote counting at a polling station as Haiti holds a long-delayed presidential election after a devastating hurricane and more than a year of political instability, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti,

By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haiti waited overnight for the results of a re-run presidential election held on Sunday in the impoverished Caribbean country, which has been in political limbo for over a year and is still reeling from a devastating hurricane.

Early reports suggested that Jovenel Moise, backed by Haiti’s last president Michel Martelly, had taken a lead in early voting tallies. However, the party of another former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, said its nominee, Maryse Narcisse, was headed for victory.

Electoral authorities said they do not expect to have preliminary results until Monday.

The vote was first held in October 2015, but then annulled over complaints of fraud in the first round after Moise, the candidate of Martelly’s Bald Heads Party, finished ahead of Jude Celestin, the former boss of a state construction company.

Further disputes ensued and a rescheduled vote due last month was postponed when Hurricane Matthew struck, killing up to 1,000 people and leaving 1.4 million needing aid.

Voters in the poorest country in the western hemisphere hope the next president will boost the economy and repair the damage.

“We need aid, aid for the country,” said Clauzette Fortine, a 41-year-old voter in Port-a-Piment, a town in southwestern Haiti pummeled by Matthew last month. “Aid after the hurricane, because everything was lost,” she added.

Men wait in line for roofing material during the eviction of residents from a shelter for people displaced by Hurricane Matthew in Lycee Jean Claude Museau, which will be used as a voting centre, before the election in Les Cayes, Haiti,

Men wait in line for roofing material during the eviction of residents from a shelter for people displaced by Hurricane Matthew in Lycee Jean Claude Museau, which will be used as a voting centre, before the election in Les Cayes, Haiti, November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

Moise, an entrepreneur who was tipped to prevail by one recent opinion poll, was leading the count according to some radio stations broadcasting from polling stations. Calvin Cadet, a former director of the communications ministry under Martelly, said Moise was on track to win 64 percent of the vote.

However, Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party said the vote had given a majority to Narcisse, a doctor.

And Celestin, who placed second in last year’s vote, is also in the running, as is former senator Moise Jean-Charles. All told, more than two dozen candidates are competing.

Martelly left office in February, and since then Haiti has been in the hands of a caretaker government. To win outright in the first round, the top candidate must secure more than 50 percent of the vote or a lead of at least 25 percentage points.

Failing that, a Jan. 29 second round run-off is likely for the top two finishers. The victor is due to take office in February, and faces a formidable task rebuilding the country after Matthew.

The deadly storm battered homes, farms and schools across southern Haiti, piling fresh misery onto the nation of more than 10 million people on the western half of the island of Hispaniola that is still recovering from a major earthquake in 2010.

There were a number of reports of voting fraud on Sunday, although election observers made a broadly positive assessment, suggesting it had gone more smoothly than last year.

Some Haitians complained they could not cast a ballot because their names did not appear on lists at the polling stations, while others said that when they tried, they were told somebody had already voted for them.

Electoral council president Leopold Berlanger said the vote had been a success overall. Still, he also noted there had been several arrests and an attempt made to burn a polling station in southeastern Haiti. National police said 43 people had been arrested for interference in the election.

(Additional reporting by Makini Brice in Les Cayes; Editing by Dave Graham and Christian Schmollinger)