The US Embassy in Haiti has issued an advisory to all US citizens currently in Haiti, advising them to evacuate the country immediately by air.
The possibility of crossing over the border into the Dominican Republic is not included, as presumably travel by road is considered too dangerous, although there is a bus service between Port au Prince and its neighbor.
“Flights fill up quickly and seats may only be available several days or even weeks in advance of departure,” the advisory said. It cautioned that if “you encounter a roadblock, turn around and get to a safe area,” a reference to an escalating gang turf war that has seen Haiti consumed by random killings, rapes, extortion and kidnappings.
The advisory says:
Given the current security situation and infrastructure challenges, U.S. citizens in Haiti should depart Haiti as soon as possible via commercial or private transport.
Multiple airlines and charter companies currently offer flights from Haiti’s international airports (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. Given that there may be a limited number of seats, U.S. citizens should consider booking flights in advance.
- Use extreme caution in traveling around the country;
- Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings of people;
- If you encounter a roadblock, turn around and get to a safe area;
- Make and practice contingency plans for sheltering in place and/or accessing airports; and
- Review the guidance on travel to High Risk Areas.
Many Haitians are hostile to the US, claiming that assassinated president Moise was a US puppet put in place by the US in fraudulent elections. At the present time Haiti has no president and no effective government.
Rampant inflation has sent the cost of food and gas spiraling; food insecurity is so widespread that about 40% of the population do not have enough to eat. And the disasters have combined to keep thousands of the country’s schools closed, meaning millions of Haitian children have lacked steady education and meals since the beginning of the pandemic.
The evacuation of US missionaries and charity workers can only mean that things will get ever worse for the most vulnerable people in Haiti, but how many will take the advice of the embassy remains to be seen.
Sources: USA Today, US Embassy in Haiti, NPR Radio.