More US missionaries rescued from Haiti as UN report calls situation 'cataclysmic'

More US missionaries and other Americans stranded in Haiti after criminal gangs overran the country in late February have been rescued after weeks of waiting, as a new United Nations report described conditions in the troubled Caribbean nation as “cataclysmic”.

“Structural and speculative factors have led Haiti to a cataclysmic situation, characterized by deep political instability and extremely fragile institutions,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. said in a report published monday

“Corruption, impunity and poor governance, coupled with increasing levels of gang violence, have eroded the rule of law and brought State institutions, which should be the bedrock of a democratic society, close to collapse. The impact of widespread insecurity on the population is dire and continues getting worse.”

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The report comes as some American missionaries who asked for help and prayers after they were caught in the government collapse reported that they were finally rescued.

In a Facebook post Sunday night, Jill Dolan from Love Neighbor ministry that worked as a missionary in Haiti since October 2013 with her husband, Ryan, reported that she was among those waiting to be rescued.

“Right in the middle of the 23rd night we received a call that actually came true. A call asking us to meet at this particular landing zone at a particular time. Desline and I were both more hopeful than ever! “God did it,” Desline said,” Dolan wrote.

“That morning I was on the phone with my husband to see our daughter Sarah in her wedding dress. The helicopter coming for us swooped down and it was time to move. Desline and I didn't tell anyone about the possibility of the helicopter coming for us so as not to get anyone's hopes up. However, since I expressed how beautiful Sara was, we couldn't hide the fact that we boarded a helicopter,” she added. “I couldn't hear them, but I could read her lips and Sara asked, 'Are you on a helicopter?' It suddenly happened so quickly and our whole family was brought to tears, relief and joy. Desline and I were finally evacuated! Praise God!”

Dolan said she arrived in Florida around 9 p.m. Saturday. She also confirmed in another statement on Facebook that the situation in Haiti worsened and she had to leave behind several children she was in the process of adopting.

“The crisis in Haiti reaches far beyond just where the gangs are present. The hold on the country and the ability for goods and gasoline to travel freely across the country has been greatly affected. Rising prices, business shutdowns, banks closed … the list goes on. Just when we think it can't get any worse in Haiti, it does,” she wrote.

“The five in our family, who were stranded in Port-au-Prince for 24 days, are out of danger. However, we are leaving behind our three children who we are in the process of adopting as well as over 200 children in our care at the orphanage,” she noted, encouraging support for GoFundMe campaign.

Natalie Cross was also recently saved after traveling to Haiti last month as part of a group of nine missionaries with Mission of Grace.

“We went to help serve a mission that had just moved 200 orphans into the mountains to keep them safe,” Cross. told WFTV 9.

She explained that although she ended up spending longer than the two weeks she had planned as part of her mission work in Haiti, she felt “peace” while she was stranded because “God told me to go.”

“For me, it was just knowing that I was there because God told me to go. So, I just had peace the whole time,” she said.

About 500 Floridians were stranded in Haiti after the crisis erupted and officials told WFTV 9 that about 185 of them have been rescued so far. Despite the peace she felt while waiting in Haiti, Cross said she was “excited” to be home.

“It was a long day. It's been a long week, but we're very excited to be here. And we're just, we're grateful,” she said.

According to the UNHCR report, the Haitian population is now “severely deprived of the enjoyment of their human rights.”

“The recent escalation of violence has increased human rights violations, including killings, kidnappings and rapes, particularly against women and young girls. It has also accelerated the humanitarian disaster and further deepened the political deadlock, undermining peace, stability and security in Haiti and the region ,” the report said.

“The crisis has accelerated basic services, including the health system to near collapse. A total of 18 health institutions no longer work in the capital because they are located in areas affected by armed gangs, including the Haiti State University Hospital (the reference hospital for the whole country ) and the sanatorium that previously housed 100 patients with tuberculosis,” officials said.

“The same applies to certain regions of Artibonite, where gang violence has prevented the operation of more than 10 health institutions. According to OHCHR, hospitals have been burned, medical personnel killed, injured and kidnapped and there is a lack of basic medical supplies.”

Hunger is now a serious threat, according to Jean-Martin Bauer, the UN World Food Program (UNWFP) country director for Haiti, who said that 1.4 million people are “one step away from starvation” according to UN News.

“The violence displaced almost 17,000 people in Port-au-Prince between March 8 and 14, and prevented the delivery of humanitarian aid. The situation of violence against children is particularly worrying,” said the report. “Not only children are killed in gang attacks and caught in gunfire, but they are also increasingly used by gangs to carry out armed attacks.”


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