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Haiti: France offers evacuation flights to its citizens

March 24, 2024

Paris will provide charter flights out of Haiti to French nationals who are registered with its local embassy, with the Caribbean country gripped by gang violence.

An Airbus plane seen at the end of the runway
More than 1,000 French nationals live in HaitiImage: Hansenn/Zoonar/picture alliance

France is organizing government-chartered flights from Haiti to help its nationals seeking to leave the Caribbean country, the French foreign ministry said on Sunday.

Haiti has been gripped by gang violence since February when armed groups raided a prison and released thousands of inmates amid demands for Prime Minister Ariel Henry to resign.

"France's embassy in Port-au-Prince remains open and is still working despite the degraded conditions," the ministry told the news agency AFP in a statement.

The ministry added that staff are "completely mobilized to support the French community on the ground."

More than 1,000 French nationals are registered with the French embassy in Haiti. The Foreign Ministry said the evacuation flights were being organized to enable "the most vulnerable" nationals to leave the Caribbean country.

The ministry also said those wanting to leave should contact the embassy in Port-au-Prince.

Violence engulfs Haitian capital Port-au-Prince

Henry's resignation not enough to ease violence

The Haitian capital has seen intense street battles since the end of February, with Prime Minister Ariel Henry resigning over the violence earlier this month.

Although armed gangs called for his departure as one of their key demands, Henry's ouster has not resulted in any easing of the violence.

Citizens in Haiti are suffering serious food shortages and a new transitional government has yet to take shape.

Earlier this week, violence spread to the Petion-Ville suburb of Port-au-Prince, an upmarket area with several embassies and expensive hotels, which gang leader Jimmy "Barbeque" Cherizier threatened to target last week for harboring politicians.

The United States has been evacuating its citizens by helicopter from the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince to the neighboring Dominican Republic and to the US state of Florida.

Haiti faces humanitarian crisis in wake of political unrest

jsi/dj (AFP, Reuters)