U.S. State Department Issues Immediate Evacuation of Government Personnel and American Citizens in Haiti Due to Escalating Chaos

The U.S. Department of State issued a “Do Not Travel” advisory on July 27, 2023, for American citizens considering travel to Haiti due to escalating risks of kidnapping, violent crime, civil unrest, and inadequate health care infrastructure.

The government further ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees at the embassy and their family members stationed in Haiti.

In light of the ongoing turmoil and severe infrastructure challenges, U.S. citizens presently in Haiti are strongly urged to leave the country as soon as possible using commercial or private transportation options.

Those intending to leave Port-au-Prince should remain vigilant, monitor local news, and plan their departure when deemed safe.

U.S. government personnel in Haiti are confined to the area around the Embassy and prohibited from walking in Port-au-Prince. They are also prohibited from using any public transport or taxis, visiting banks and ATMs, driving at night, and traveling between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. without prior approval and special security measures in place.

From the news release:

Kidnapping is widespread, and victims regularly include U.S. citizens. Kidnappers may use sophisticated planning or take advantage of unplanned opportunities, and even convoys have been attacked. Kidnapping cases often involve ransom negotiations and U.S. citizen victims have been physically harmed during kidnappings. Victim’s families have paid thousands of dollars to rescue their family members.

Violent crime, often involving the use of firearms, such as armed robbery, carjackings, and kidnappings for ransom that include U.S. citizens are common. Mob killings against presumed criminals have been on the rise since late April. Travelers are sometimes followed and violently attacked and robbed shortly after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport. Robbers and carjackers also attack private vehicles stuck in heavy traffic congestion and often target lone drivers, particularly women. As a result, the U.S. Embassy requires its personnel to use official transportation to and from the airport.

Protests, demonstrations, tire burning, and roadblocks are frequent, unpredictable, and can turn violent. The U.S. government is extremely limited in its ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Haiti – assistance on site is available only from local authorities (Haitian National Police and ambulance services). Local police generally lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. Shortages of gasoline, electricity, medicine, and medical supplies continue throughout much of Haiti. Public and private medical clinics and hospitals often lack qualified medical staff and even basic medical equipment and resources.

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