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Port-au-Prince: Haiti’s main airport reopens after weeks of gang violence

Image caption, More commercial flights to and from Port-au-Prince are expected later this week

Haiti’s main international airport, Port-au-Prince, has reopened, nearly three months after it was forced to close due to deadly gang-related violence.

A single commercial flight left the capital on Monday and later landed in Miami, Florida. More flights are expected this week.

Haiti’s transitional authorities hope that more desperately needed basic supplies – such as medicine – will now arrive, and that trapped foreigners will be able to leave the impoverished country.

But gangs still control much of the capital, and Haiti’s main seaport remains closed.

Monday’s flight was organized by Haitian company Sunrise Airways, which contracted with Florida-based charter airline World Atlantic.

The departure was reportedly delayed for almost two hours, with passengers complaining about the cramped conditions on board the plane.

Still, local residents said they were happy to be able to travel again.

“There are thousands of people who wanted to travel but couldn’t travel for a certain period of time. I have my tent in which I had to live for more than three months. Many people suffered,” Rosemond Desire told AP Television News.

Until Monday, the only operational airport was in the northern city of Cap-Haïtien.

But many Haitians have been unable to get there because of ongoing gang violence in and around the capital.

U.S. airlines are not expected to resume flights to Port-au-Prince until late May or early June.

Image source, EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Image caption, Port-au-Prince has been rocked by weeks of deadly violence

The gangs carried out coordinated attacks and demanded the resignation of then Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

He agreed to resign in March.

Nine members of the transitional council have now been sworn in as leader of the country, seven of whom have the right to vote. Henry’s finance minister, Michel Patrick Boisvert, will serve as interim prime minister.

Tens of thousands of people have fled Port-au-Prince in recent weeks.

Kenya will send police to Haiti at the head of an international task force that will try to help the country’s transitional council restore some stability.