Latin America & Caribbean

Dominican Republic resumes deportation of Haitians

Health worker at a makeshift hospital in Haiti
Image caption Authorities in the Dominican Republic say they are worried illegal immigrants could spread cholera

The Dominican Republic says it has resumed the deportation of illegal Haitian immigrants, suspended after last year's earthquake in Haiti.

Dominican security forces set up dozens of road blocks on the outskirts of the capital, Santo Domingo, amid fears about the spread of cholera.

They say they stopped thousands of Haitians crossing the border in search of work, many of them illegally.

Immigration officials say that this week at least 950 have been deported.

The Dominican authorities say the move is crucial if they are going to stop the spread of cholera. Some 3,500 people have died from the disease in Haiti.

About 150 people are known to have contracted it in the Dominican Republic.

Changing relations

Relations between the two neighbours have historically been tense, but they improved after a devastating earthquake destroyed much of Haiti in January of last year.

At the time, the Dominican authorities announced they would stop deporting Haitians who entered the country illegally.

But since Monday, soldiers have joined police in setting up new roadblocks, not just on the border but also on key roads leading to Santo Domingo.

The United Nations has estimated that before the earthquake, around 600,000 Haitians lived in the Dominican Republic illegally.

Director of Migration for the Dominican Republic Sigfrido Pared says that number has since reached one million.

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