American troops are leaving Haiti while the capital city, and much of the surrounding areas, still remains in ruins, according to The Associated Press. The United States’ withdrawal marks the end of Haiti’s most public international aid, even while the city remains in economic and social peril.
According to the report, more than a half-million people are still living in outdoor encampments, which have been made more deplorable with the advent of the rainy season.
“I would like for them to stay in Haiti until they rebuild the country and everybody can go back to their house,” Marjorie Louis, a 27-year-old mother of two, told the AP.
U.S. officials said the troops’ withdrawal does not indicate lessened commitment to Haiti, but instead marks a change nature of their operation. According to the report, security will be the responsibility of the 10,000-member U.N. peacekeeping brigade and the Haitian police.
Some U.S. forces will remain in Haiti, although the exact number has not been released, according to Gen. Douglas Fraser, head of the U.S. Southern Command, which spearheads the relief efforts in Haiti.
“Our mission is largely accomplished,” Fraser said.