Americans Flee Haiti: 'You Can Only Imagine' the Suffering

State Department starts flying US citizens out, but the Americans will have to pay for the flights
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 18, 2024 8:49 AM CDT
Americans Flee Haiti: 'You Can Only Imagine' the Suffering
People line up to receive food at a shelter for families displaced by gang violence, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, March 14, 2024.   (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

A charter flight carrying dozens of US citizens fleeing spiraling gang violence in Haiti landed Sunday in Miami, per the AP. Nearly 50 Americans were on the government-chartered flight, reports CBS News. The flight arrived at the Miami International Airport after the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince earlier this month urged US citizens to leave "as soon as possible" amid chaos and violence across the nation.

  • Passenger Avlot Quessa, who lives in Boston, traveled from the center of the country to board the charter flight after going to Haiti last month for what was supposed to be a weeklong trip to visit his mother. "It's just terrible. ... The suffering, you can only imagine," Quessa tells the Miami Herald. "Haiti is my homeland and it's very stressful to see the homeland going through this act of violence, destruction ... and they are our neighbors."

  • Another passenger on Sunday's flight, Marie Lucie St. Fleur, 69, of West Palm Beach, said she feels most at home in Haiti and it pains her to see what her homeland is enduring. "I don't feel well at all. I would like to live in my country and I can't," she said while sitting in a wheelchair.
  • Haiti's main airport in Port-au-Prince remains closed following gang attacks that have raged through Haiti in recent weeks. However, the State Department announced Saturday that it would offer limited charter flights for American citizens from the less chaotic northern city of Cap-Haïtien. Officials said they could not provide ground transportation to Cap-Haïtien and that US citizens should consider the charter flights "only if you think you can reach Cap-Haïtien airport safely." Passengers must reimburse the government for the flights.
  • The US military last week flew in additional forces to bolster security at the American Embassy, which is in a neighborhood largely controlled by gangs. The gang attacks, meanwhile, have pushed many Haitians to the brink of famine. Government and aid agencies this weekend reported looting of supplies as the situation worsened.
(More Haiti stories.)

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