The United States government is urging American citizens to leave Haiti now while they can still get flights, as the Caribbean nation remains in crisis.
Fuel shortages, gang violence and political instability that have intensified since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July have been affecting the country. Gangs have blocked fuel distribution terminals for several weeks, impacting hospitals, transportation and electricity and other services.
In a security alert issued on Wednesday, the US Department of State urged US citizens to “carefully consider the risks of traveling to or remaining in Haiti in light of the current security situation and infrastructure challenges”.
“Widespread fuel shortages may limit essential services in an emergency, including access to banks, money transfers, urgent medical care, internet and telecommunications, and public and private transportation options. The US Embassy is unlikely to be able to assist US citizens in Haiti with departure if commercial options become unavailable. Seats on commercial flights currently remain available.”
The Canadian government issued a similar warning, noting that while the Toussaint-Louverture International Airport is still operational for now, it may be affected on short notice.
“Some hospitals don’t have enough fuel to provide adequate health care services. Tap water and bottled water are in short supply, and supplies of perishable goods may decrease quickly,” it said on Wednesday.
“The situation is deteriorating and evolving quickly. If you’re in Haiti and your presence isn’t essential, consider leaving if you can do so safely. If you choose to remain in Haiti, plan carefully to ensure you have essential items.”
On Wednesday, Doctors Without Borders warned that the shortages have forced it to reduce medical care since last week, with staff treating only patients with life-threatening conditions.
The aid group said its hospital and emergency center would run out of fuel for generators in three weeks or less if new supplies do not arrive.