PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Looters pillaged burned and vandalized shops in Haiti’s capital Sunday following two days of violent protests over the government’s attempt to raise fuel prices.
Journalists saw young men stripping shelves bare in some supermarkets that were charred from the protests. Several bodies lay among the debris scattered in the streets.
With the situation still chaotic, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince on Sunday warned U.S. citizens to shelter in place. It noted that many flights were canceled and said, “The airport has limited food and water available.”
“Telecommunications services, including Internet and phone lines, have been affected throughout Haiti,” the Embassy added. “It may be difficult to reach people through normal communication methods.”
The cancellation of flights stranded church groups and volunteers from a number of U.S. states, including South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
Chapin United Methodist Church in South Carolina posted online that its mission team is safe but stranded. Marcy Kenny, assimilation minister for the church, told The State newspaper that the group is hoping the unrest will abate enough for them to safely make it to the airport.
A North Carolina doctor and his son were part of another medical mission group that was unable to leave. Shelley Collins told WRAL-TV that her husband, James, and their son made it to an airport but can’t fly out.
Police Director-General Michel-Ange Gedeon ordered officers to crack down on what he calls “bandits who disturb the peace and security of the country.”
At least three people were killed in protests on Friday, and police say the bodies of four people were found Sunday in the streets of the Delmas district, though they didn’t say if that is related to the protests.
The government on Saturday scrapped plans to raise fuel prices to 38 to 51 percent.