American citizens in Haiti should leave the country “as soon as possible” because of spiraling security and infrastructure “challenges,” the U.S. Embassy said in a travel advisory issued late Wednesday.
The advisory urged U.S. nationals to depart Haiti immediately on commercial or private transportation and cautioned those traveling around the country to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings of people.
“Flights fill up quickly and seats may only be available several days or even weeks in advance of departure,” the advisory said. It cautioned that if “you encounter a roadblock, turn around and get to a safe area,” a reference to an escalating gang turf war that has seen Haiti consumed by random killings, rapes, extortion and kidnappings.
Haiti spinning out of control:On every metric from gangs to kidnappings, migration to murder
Haiti’s gangs have been vying for territory and resources in the wake of the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. They now control large parts of the country. Moïse’s successor, Prime Minister Ariel Henry, has repeatedly called for an international force to help stabilize a country where the lawlessness associated with the armed gangs threatens to push more Haitian migrants to the U.S.
The United Nations says nearly half of Haiti’s 11 million people are in need of humanitarian aid.
Last month, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital and most populous city, evacuated non-emergency government personnel and the family members of diplomats.
Top U.S. diplomat:Haiti needs foreign troops to help with a gang-related crisis
Over the weekend, a Haitian gang opened fire on protesters from a church who sought to confront one gang leader over the surging turmoil. At least seven people were killed.
In early August, an American nurse and her daughter who had been abducted in Haiti were set free following a July kidnapping that spotlighted the chaos and gang violence that has plagued the country.
‘Immense joy’:American nurse and daughter released after being kidnapped in Haiti