BOCA RATON, Fla. — The calls for help in Haiti are getting louder as gang violence and unrest intensify.
“We need intervention, we simply need it at this point,” said community leader and attorney, Byrnes Guillaume.
The call to action is in response to the lack of food, water, fuel, and healthcare, and as several continue to seek refuge in the U .S.
“You have people that are leaving, people who are running from chaos to come to a better place and they are risking their lives, they don’t even think twice,” said Francky Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul lives in West Palm Beach but calls the Caribbean country his homeland.
96 Haitian migrants were rescued Wednesday after they were spotted 20 miles east of Boca Raton. Men women and children were in distress on an overloaded 40-foot boat. The coast guard said the group was at sea for seven days and spent the last two without food and water.
According to the US Coast Guard’s latest stats, over the past two years, the number of Haitian migrants interdicted has skyrocketed from 1,500 to more than 7,000. Both men said the numbers will continue to rise until the U.S. steps up to help.
“They’re seeking change, they’re asking for change and they deserve it,” said Pierre-Paul. “The fact that they are not getting is heartbreaking.”
In addition to a lack of essentials, the island is also dealing with a new wave of Cholera cases. According to the Pan American Health Organization, this month alone 35 people have died from the disease and there are nearly 600 suspected cases. A disturbing trend that Guillaume said highlights the need for a response at the federal level.
“Get some boots on the ground and make a difference, not only our government but, we’re asking our UN to do the same as well,” said Guillaume.
According to the U.S. State Department, over the weekend both the U.S. and Canada joined forces and sent over armored vehicles and supplies. Plans are also in the works to send a special response team.