US Citizens Told to Leave Haiti Following Mass Jailbreak, Emergency Declaration

US Citizens Told to Leave Haiti Following Mass Jailbreak, Emergency Declaration

American citizens are being urged to leave Haiti immediately over safety concerns, the American embassy in the country’s capital warned on Sunday in a bulletin.

The U.S. State Department urged U.S. citizens to evacuate by any means necessary following a breakout of civil unrest and as armed gangs stormed the largest prison on the island country and released the inmates housed there, Reuters reported.

According to the BBC, it is believed around 3,700 potentially dangerous criminals are now free.

Fighting in the country has crippled important communications infrastructure and has left an estimated 15,000 people with nowhere to live.

Haiti’s government has declared a state of emergency while it attempts to restore order.

Video shared by NBC News from Saturday showed an attempt to assassinate Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

WARNING: The following post contains images of violence that may be disturbing for some readers. 

On Sunday, the U.S. government cautioned that the situation was so unstable that American citizens needed to leave immediately.

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The Embassy in the country issued the following statement: “U.S. citizens in Haiti should depart Haiti as soon as possible by commercial or other privately available transportation options, in light of the current security situation and infrastructure challenges.

“U.S. citizens wishing to depart Port-au-Prince should monitor local news and information on security conditions from commercial transportation providers and should arrange to leave Haiti when security conditions permit doing so.”

The embassy also said it would limit its operations for most of the week, citing the threat of “gang-related violence.”

“All appointments scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are canceled for visas and American Citizen Services including routine passport services, requests for Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, and notarial services,” the embassy said.

People who had scheduled business at the embassy in Port-au-Prince were urged to avoid the building.

Additionally, the embassy said in no uncertain terms that any Americans who had plans to travel to the chaotic country needed to cancel them.

“Do not travel to Haiti,” the embassy said. “If you are a U.S. citizen in Haiti, depart Haiti as soon as possible by commercial or other privately available transportation options.”

Those in Haiti were asked to avoid crowds if they were in the country and also to find a trustworthy news source on areas that needed to be avoided.

The embassy further asked Americans on the island to “keep a low profile” and to be prepared to hide for an extended period of time.

It is unclear if Americans in Haiti face being specifically targeted by violent gangs or how many U.S. nationals were there Sunday.

But the embassy stressed that anyone currently in the country to keep their IDs readily accessible and make plans to keep themselves safe.

Per the BBC, as much as 80 percent of Port-au-Prince was in the hands of armed gangs as of Monday afternoon.

Haiti has struggled with widespread and organized gang violence for years.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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