The US Department of State has issued a warning to Americans to be careful when they visit the Caribbean nation of Haiti.
The Department cited the current security environment and lack of adequate medical facilities and response, especially in the areas of Pétion-ville and the storm-damaged southern peninsula departments of Grand Anse and South. The current release replaces a Travel Warning dated November 4, 2016.
“Rates of kidnapping, murder, and rape rose in 2016. While there is no indication that U. S. citizens are specifically targeted, kidnapping for ransom can affect anyone in Haiti, particularly long-term residents,” the department stated.
The warning stated that armed robberies and violent assaults reported by U.S. citizens have risen in recent years.
“Do not share specific travel plans with strangers. Be aware that newly arrived travelers are targeted. Arrange to have your host or organization meet you at the airport upon arrival or pre-arranged airport to hotel transfers. Be cautious when visiting banks and ATMs, which are often targeted by criminals. Fewer incidents of crime are reported outside of Port-au-Prince, but Haitian authorities’ ability to respond to emergencies is limited and in some areas non-existent,” the State Department warned.
U.S. Embassy employees are discouraged from walking in city neighborhoods, including in Petionville.
“Visit only establishments with secured parking lots. U.S. Embassy personnel are under a curfew from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Embassy personnel must receive permission from the Embassy security officer to travel to some areas of Port-au-Prince and some regions of the country, thus limiting the Embassy’s ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens.”