The U.S. has issued an advisory urging all citizens currently in Haiti to leave as soon as possible amid the “current security situation and infrastructure challenges.”
Americans are urged to use commercial or private transport to get out of the country, with the advisory noting that multiple airlines and charter companies currently offer flights from its international airports in Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien.
“Flights fill up quickly and seats may only be available several days or even weeks in advance of departure,” the advisory posted Wednesday on the U.S. Embassy in Haiti’s website states.
“U.S. citizens wishing to depart Port-au-Prince should monitor local news and only do so when considered safe.”
American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit, Air Caraibe and Sunrise Airways are among the airlines the embassy lists that service the country.
U.S. citizens are also advised to continue to use extreme caution while travelling around the country, to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings, to get to a safe area if they encounter a roadblock, and to review guidance on travel to high-risk areas.
The advisory comes as Haiti continues to face security issues with gangs in the country now controlling large parts of the country, which has fuelled a humanitarian crisis displacing tens of thousands of Haitians.
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It is not the first time the U.S. has urged citizens to leave the country, with both it and Canada advising people to leave in late 2022.
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Global News has reached out to Global Affairs Canada to see if it is issuing its own warning, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
Since last year, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has called for an international force to rein in the groups, but no country has offered to lead such a force despite the U.S. calling on Canada to take a leading role.
In June, Canada and the Dominican Republic agreed that the former would co-ordinate assistance in Haiti by boosting staff at its embassies, settling a public dispute over a proposed Canadian office in Dominican territory. Both countries also agreed that Haiti required enhanced international co-operation, and humanitarian and security assistance.
Despite this action, violence has still remained in the country. This past weekend, hundreds of parishioners were encouraged to take up weapons to try and rid a community of gang members, only for some to be fatally shot by them.
The director of Haiti’s National Police said Monday that he would hold accountable those who encouraged the people to take such action, adding that multiple people were killed and several kidnapped, though he did not provide numbers. Police were trying to recover the bodies of those killed in Canaan, a community established north of the capital.
Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 15, more than 2,400 people in Haiti have been reported killed, more than 950 kidnapped and another 902 injured, according to the United Nations.
— with files from The Associated Press and Reuters
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