U.S. urges personnel and citizens to leave Haiti amid erupting violence
The State Department cited “kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, poor health care infrastructure,” as some of the main reasons why individuals should consider leaving the Caribbean country
July 28, 2023 9:06am
Updated: July 28, 2023 9:06am
The U.S. State Department on Thursday ordered all non-emergency government personnel and their family members, as well as U.S. citizens, to leave Haiti "by commercial or other privately available transportation options” amid a wave of violence.
“Given the recent armed clashes between gangs and the police and the high threat of violent crime and kidnapping throughout Port-au-Prince, the Department of State urges US citizens to make plans to depart Haiti as soon as possible via commercial means,” reads a statement posted on the US Embassy website.
The State Department cited “kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, poor health care infrastructure,” as some of the main reasons why individuals should consider leaving the Caribbean country.
"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," the State Department said in a travel advisory.
Gang violence in Haiti has increased since President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in 2021, leaving behind a power vacuum.
Since then, gangs have sought to extend their territory, leaving thousands of residents caught in the middle of violent fights. Kidnappings for ransom, gang rapes, and murders have become common in the nation.
As a result, hundreds of Haitians have been left dead and thousands of others displaced. In recent weeks, the violence has escalated to routine fights between gangs and Haiti’s security officers.
On Wednesday, the U.S. embassy in Haiti ordered its staff and families not to leave the mission ground “until further notice” as the gunfights intensified in the vicinity.
Several Haitian families have began gathering around the U.S. embassy on Tuesday, seeking refuge from the gangs.