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Haitians Worship at Damaged Churches as Gangs Offer Earthquake Aid

(UPDATED) Death toll passes 2,200 as Samaritan’s Purse field hospital opens in Les Cayes.

LES CAYES, Haiti — A gang leader is offering a truce as well as help for communities in southwestern Haiti that were shattered by an earthquake, raising a glimmer of hope for relief operations that have been disrupted by the looting of aid trucks and other disorder.

It remained to be seen whether anything would come from Sunday’s offer by Jimmy Cherizier, alias “Barbecue.” While he is a powerful crime boss, Cherizier is far from the only gang leader in Haiti, and widely spread social media reports of a supposed earlier gang truce have failed to prevent attacks on the expanding relief effort.

The offer came as many Haitians returned to worship services in or outside damaged churches, sometimes for the first time since the magnitude 7.2 quake hit August 14. Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency also raised the list of confirmed dead to 2,207.

Since the disaster, gangs have blocked roads, hijacked aid trucks, and stolen supplies, forcing relief workers to transport supplies by helicopter. In places, desperate crowds have scuffled over bags of food.

In a video posted on Facebook, Cherizier addressed the hardest-hit parts of the Haiti’s southwestern peninsula, saying: “We want to tell them that the G9 Revolutionary Forces and allies, all for one and one for all, sympathize with their pain and sorrows."

"The G9 Revolutionary Forces and allies … will participate in the relief by bringing them help. We invite all compatriots to show solidarity with the victims by trying to share what little there is with them,” he said.

The increase in the death toll was the first since late Wednesday, when the government had reported 2,189 fatalities. The government said Sunday that 344 people …

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