Friday, January 27, 2023
Home New Release Canada, U.S. urge citizens to leave Haiti due to ‘deteriorating’ safety amid...

Canada, U.S. urge citizens to leave Haiti due to ‘deteriorating’ safety amid fuel crisis

Canada is pulling all non-essential staff from its embassy in Haiti and urging Canadian travellers to leave the country amid deepening insecurity and a severe lack of fuel that has affected hospitals, schools and banks.

Global Affairs Canada said in a statement Thursday it is temporarily withdrawing non-essential Canadian employees as well as family members of embassy staff.

“The security situation in Haiti is rapidly deteriorating and is being exacerbated by ongoing fuel shortages,” the statement reads.

Read more:
Haiti gang leader threatens to kill kidnapped Canadian, American missionaries

The agency said the embassy in Port-au-Prince remains open to assist Canadians currently in the country.

On Wednesday, the government advised that Canadians should “consider leaving if you can do so safely” if their presence isn’t essential. Canadians are also advised not to travel to the country “due to severe fuel shortages, the risk of kidnapping and civil unrest.”

Story continues below advertisement

That rare warning was echoed by the U.S. State Department on Wednesday, which came as Haiti’s government and police are struggling to control gangs that have blocked fuel distribution terminals for several weeks.

“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 State Department warned.

Global News has asked Global Affairs Canada how many Canadians are believed to be in Haiti currently. The U.S. State Department told the Associated Press it does not provide statistics on Americans living abroad.

U.S. has dispatched small team to Haiti in response to kidnapping: State Department

U.S. has dispatched small team to Haiti in response to kidnapping: State Department – Oct 18, 2021

The warnings come as U.S. and Haitian authorities try to secure the safe release of 17 members of a missionary group from Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries who were kidnapped by the 400 Mawozo gang on Oct. 16. There are five children in the group of 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian. Their Haitian driver also was abducted.

Story continues below advertisement

“We request continued prayer for the kidnappers, that God would soften their hearts,” the organization said in a statement on Wednesday. “As you pray, remember the millions of Haitians who are suffering through a time of serious upheaval and unrest.”

On Tuesday, top Haitian government officials acknowledged the widespread lack of fuel during a news conference and said they were working to resolve the situation, although they provided no details. Gas stations remained closed on Thursday.

Defense Minister Enold Joseph said the government is investigating why 30 fuel tanks sent to Haiti’s southern region went missing, adding that he has observed gasoline being sold on the black market.

Read more:
Haiti gang demands US$17M for kidnapped Canadian, American missionaries: reports

The fuel shortage also has threatened Haiti’s water supply, which depends on generators, and hospitals in Port-au-Prince and beyond.

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 that its hospital and emergency center will run out of fuel for generators in three weeks or less if new supplies don’t arrive.

“As tensions and armed conflict escalate in Haiti’s capital, shortages of fuel, public transportation and drinking water are putting medical facilities and patients at risk,” the aid group said. “Nearly all public and private health facilities in Port-au-Prince have stopped or limited admissions to only acute cases or closed their doors due to similar problems.”

Story continues below advertisement

Doctors Without Borders also said that the lack of fuel is preventing staff from reaching the hospital because of the scarcity of public transportation. It’s a problem seen elsewhere, with parents unable to send their children to school and some employees unable to go to work.

The situation also has led to a spike in food prices in a country of more than 11 million people where more than 60 per cent of the population makes less than USD$2 a day. Meanwhile, a gallon of gasoline, when available, currently costs USD$15.

–With files from the Associated Press

Click to play video: 'Seventeen missionaries kidnapped in Haiti include Canadian citizen'

Seventeen missionaries kidnapped in Haiti include Canadian citizen

Seventeen missionaries kidnapped in Haiti include Canadian citizen – Oct 17, 2021

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Tyre Nichols death: Memphis braces for video showing fatal police encounter

The police department in the city of Memphis was set on Friday to release body-camera video of a violent confrontation between a Black motorist...

Are your cats fighting or playing? Scientists analysed cat videos to figure out the difference

If your cats are wrestling, they are most likely playing (Picture: Unsplash)Have you ever worried if the play between your cats was getting too...

The camera never lies … What BeReal selfies have taught me about my fashion choices | Jess Cartner-Morley

The camera never lies … What BeReal selfies have taught me about my fashion choices The photo-sharing app leads to some pretty random images...

No, Microsoft DirectStorage isn’t slashing RTX 4090 performance by 10 percent

Microsoft/Tech / We need more DirectStorage games and tests, but some early benchmarks have generated inaccurate headlines. Image: MicrosoftYou may have seen headlines like...