Violence, chaos in crisis-stricken Haiti

Henry

More than 30 American citizens landed in Florida on Sunday on a chartered flight from Haiti, after weeks of gang violence paralyzed this Caribbean nation.

The flight departed from Haiti’s port city of Cap-Haitien, where the airport was still open, according to the US Embassy.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs facilitated the safe departure from Cap-Haitien, Haiti, of more than 30 US citizens on a chartered flight from the US government,” the spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday.

A gang rebellion that aimed to unseat Prime Minister Ariel Henry has caused havoc in Haiti over the past two weeks. Henry agreed to resign last week after mounting pressure and violence in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

The well-armed groups’ numbers grew significantly after an attack on two prisons meant that thousands of prisoners were released.

A recent report from the US also warned about the near collapse of basic services in Haiti.

The chaos has left millions of people vulnerable as they await the formation of a transitional government following Henry’s announcement.

For Americans still in Haiti, the State Department is exploring options for their departure from the capital Port-au-Prince. “American citizens will be informed about it as soon as we can safely do so,” the spokesperson said on Sunday.

“We will continue to assist American citizens as long as commercial options remain unavailable and the security environment allows us to do so.”

The US has also appealed to its citizens in Haiti, who want to leave the country, to connect with the government via their website.

The US said on Sunday it had evacuated non-essential US embassy staff in the capital to safety and deployed additional staff to beef up security at the compound.

Several other countries, including the European Union, have already taken their diplomatic staff to safety due to the crisis.

The UN also said it was withdrawing non-essential personnel.

Kenya has offered to lead an international security mission to support Haiti’s overwhelmed police as a state of emergency in the country ends on April 3.