US urges all Americans in Haiti to leave immediately and ‘use extreme caution’

The US Department of State issued a warning to any citizens traveling within Haiti, urging them to leave as soon as possible amid growing security and infrastructural concerns

The U.S. State Department has issued a warning for any citizens traveling in Haiti, urging them to leave the countryimmediately “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,” the governmenttweeted on Wednesday, also urging individuals to contact if they’re having any challenges departing the small island nation.

The warning comes amid increasing violence in the country between rival street gangs. Many violent demonstrations have occurred in recent weeks, leading to mass displacement as residents flee their homes.

Just a couple of days ago, a powerful gang opened fire on a group of parishioners in Canaan, a makeshift town near the outskirts of the capital city of Port-au-Prince, while they marched through a community. They had been armed with machetes and had been vying to rid the streets of their community of gang members.

A protester holds up a machete as a symbol of self-defense against gangs

Last week, a gang opened fire on a group of church-goers hoping to eradicate gangs from their community (



The gang retaliated, killing several and wounding dozens of others in the attack. Horrific videos posted to social media show the incident unfolding. It remains unclear how many were injured or died.

Gangs reportedly control about 80% of Port-au-Prince and have been rising in prevalence and power since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, which rocked the country.

Canaan specifically is ruled by a gang led by a man who mysteriously goes by only the name “Jeff.” His gang is thought to be affiliated with the larger “5 Seconds” gang.

Between January and March, more than 1,600 people were killed, injured or kidnapped in the country, according to the U.N. According to a report from UNICEF, a spike in kidnappings in particular has occurred, with over 300 confirmed cases this year alone — which is almost triple the total in all of 2021 and about equal to the total number reported last year.

The State Department added that “U.S. citizens wishing to depart Port-au-Prince should monitor local news and only do so when considered safe,” listing the major commercial airlines offering flights in and out of the country. Those include:

Residents flee their homes to escape clashes between armed gangs

The violence in the country has forced many residents to flee their homes (



  • American Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Spirit
  • Air Caraibe
  • Sunrise Airways

Those airlines primarily offer their services at the island nation’s two international airports — which are located in Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien.

So, what should you do if you’re a U.S. citizen in Haiti at the moment? The State Department made a list of action items to consider for those currently in the region, which includes:

  • Using extreme caution when traveling around the nation
  • Avoiding demonstrations or large gatherings of people
  • Turning around if you encounter roadblocks
  • Making and practicing contingency plans for finding shelter, sheltering in place and accessing airports
  • Reviewing and following guidance from the State Department’s guide for traveling in high risk areas

A police officer holds a resident who was shot in the head during violent gang clashes

Unrest in Haiti has been a growing concern for the State Department, which recently evacuated much of its personnel from the embassy in Port-au-Prince (



The recommendations for those who do opt to travel to high risk areas are harrowing — the State Department advises that travelers draft a will and discuss with their family what should happen if they’re to be killed, and it also advises voyagers to form contingency plans for their safety while in country and for their family members, who may be asked to negotiate with hostage-takers if travelers are kidnapped.

This isn’t the only time in recent weeks that the State Department has issued a travel advisory or warning to citizens traveling within the island nation. At the end of July, the government evacuated all “non-emergency U.S. direct-hire employees and eligible family members” who were working at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince.

At the same time, it issued a travel advisory for any tourists. “Do not travel to Haiti due to kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor health care infrastructure,” the government stated, also urging citizens at that time to leave as soon as possible.


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