The US and Canada are sending armored vehicles to support the Haitian police

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – The U.S. and Canada sent armored vehicles and other supplies to Haiti on Saturday to help police fight a powerful gang amid a pending request from the Haitian government for the immediate deployment of foreign troops.

The US State Department said in a statement that the equipment was purchased by the Haitian government, but gave no further details about the supplies being flown by military aircraft to the capital, Port-au-Prince.

A spokesman for the US military’s Southern Command said he could not provide further details about the supplies sent, although he added that it was a joint operation involving the US Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

“This equipment will assist (the Haitian National Police) in their fight against criminal actors who incite violence and impede the flow of critically needed humanitarian aid, hindering efforts to stop the spread of cholera,” the State Department said.

The Pan American Health Organization said there were more than 560 suspected cholera cases, about 300 hospitalizations and at least 35 deaths, and experts warned the numbers were likely much higher than reported.

The equipment arrived more than a month after one of Haiti’s most powerful gangs surrounded a fuel terminal and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. Demonstrators also blocked roads in major cities to protest sharply rising fuel prices after Henry announced in early September that his administration could no longer afford to subsidize fuel.

Since then, gas stations have closed, hospitals have cut services, and banks and grocery stores are open on a limited basis as fuel, water and other supplies run out across Haiti.

The owners of the fuel terminal announced Saturday that gunmen had attacked their facilities for a second time and made off with more than 28,000 gallons of petroleum products after overpowering surveillance and emergency personnel at the facility.

It was the second time this week that gunmen broke into the terminal, which holds more than 10 million gallons of gasoline and diesel and more than 800,000 gallons of kerosene.

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