70,000 Haitians Flee the Dominican Republic Due to COVID-19

The paralysis of agriculture and construction forces Haitians to return to their country

Border crossing between Ouanaminthe, Haiti and Dajabon, Dominican Republic, August 18, 2020. Photo: Twitter/@keloke_RD

In the Dominican Republic, the National Board for Migration and Refugees Coordinator William Charpantier said on Sep. 7 that about 70,000 Haiti’s citizens have returned home voluntarily because of the lack of employment and access to health services.

“The immigrants have been the most affected by the pandemic since the government has not helped them,” Charpantier said. “Efforts to halt COVID-19 must be inclusive since we are all exposed.”

The pandemic has severely reduced the remittances sent to Haiti

Due to the paralysis of agricultural and construction activities, many immigrants have been forced to sell trinkets on the streets, move to the country’s eastern region to find job opportunities, or return to their homeland.

The Dominican Republic does not have a record of Haitians with coronavirus or Haitians killed from the pandemic, since foreigners are not even considered for COVID-19 testing.

The pandemic has severely reduced the remittances sent to Haiti as immigrants are receiving low or no income at all. Many of them do not have enough money to pay for rent.

Some government agencies, the Catholic Church through its Caritas Program, and several businessmen have helped the immigrant workers, mostly with food.

“There was also an agreement with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) that provided over 3,000 masks,” Charpantier stated.

As of the morning of Sep.8, the Dominican Republic had reported 99,898 COVID-19 cases and 1,864 deaths. Meanwhile, Haiti has had 8,376 reported cases with 214 deaths.

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