Haiti – FLASH : Avoid all travel to Haiti until further notice
On Wednesday, the Government of Canada updated its travel advisories and advises its nationals to avoid all non-essential travel to Haiti until further notice.
Warning text :
Several attacks have been carried out in Port-au-Prince since mid-August 2020.
These violent incidents have resulted in deaths and injuries. As a result, the Haitian national police may increase its presence in an attempt to respond to the climate of insecurity in the capital.
If you are in Port-au-Prince:
- remain vigilant at all times
- follow the advice of local authorities
The security situation is unpredictable :
The number of violent incidents, including attacks, armed robberies and kidnappings, have increased since December 2019, both in Port-au-Prince and in other provincial towns.
Crime rates are especially high in large centres such as downtown Port-au-Prince, where armed gangs operate, as well as near the border with the Dominican Republic, where criminal activities are widespread. Criminality also increases in the period leading up to the holiday season, Carnival and the beginning of the school year.
Armed robberies occur regularly in Pétion-Ville. In most cases, victims are attacked in broad daylight by armed thieves on motorcycles. There has been a recent increase in attacks, particularly against motorists. They usually occur in traffic jams during peak hours.
- Be vigilant at all times while travelling
- Keep windows closed and doors locked when travelling by car
Criminal gangs have committed robberies by erecting roadblocks along Route Nationale 2, between the Petit‑Goâve and Miragoane.
Toussaint Louverture International Airport :
Thieves try to distract foreigners to steal their passports at Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince.
- Be cautious when claiming your luggage upon arrival
- Keep your valuables and identification on you
- Have your local contacts arrange for your pick-up from the airport
- Carry only small amounts of cash
- Do not resist if you are threatened by robbers
- Be extremely vigilant when leaving the airport
Banking machines :
There is a high risk of robbery from individuals using ATMs. Be extremely vigilant when entering or leaving a bank, as criminals could be watching and attempt to rob you as you leave.
- Only use ATMs during business hours inside a bank
- Deal directly with a teller if you can
- Avoid carrying large sums of money
Keeping a low profile :
Foreigners are viewed as wealthy and may arouse envy.
- Avoid showing visible signs of affluence, such as expensive-looking jewelry or electronic equipment
- Be cautious when photographing scenes in poor or urban areas, where people may feel exploited or insulted by being subjects of such activities
- Obtain permission before photographing individuals
- Remain cautious with new acquaintances offering friendship or hospitality
- Never walk alone and avoid travelling after nightfall
Members of the general Haitian population, regardless of rank or social class, are at risk of being kidnapped. Although rare, there have been kidnappings involving Canadians and other foreign nationals, including missionaries, aid workers and children. Most victims have been released upon the payment of a ransom. In some exceptional cases, however, victims have disappeared or have been killed.
- Remain alert to small groups of loiterers, especially near your residence
- Keep doors and windows secure at all times
- Instruct domestic staff to permit only pre-authorized visitors whose identities have been verified into your home
- Keep all visitors under close scrutiny
- Remain extremely vigilant wherever you are in the country
Due to ongoing political instability, violent protests and civil unrest could occur and result in the setup of roadblocks across the country. Access to the airport could be blocked without notice. Water, food and fuel shortages could also happen.
Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
– Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
– Follow the instructions of local authorities
– Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Road safety :
Roads are narrow and poorly maintained. Traffic signs are rare. The few traffic lights that are operational are mostly in urban centres. Streets are rarely lit.
Most vehicles are in poor condition and often abandoned on or beside the road. Many people drive while intoxicated, with their vehicle’s lights off or do not follow the rules of the road.
- Always keep your fuel tanks at least half full, as disruptions of fuel supplies are frequent
- Always carry a cell phone and a list of emergency contact numbers with you, as roadside assistance services are deficient. Be aware that cell phone coverage is intermittent in some rural areas
- Avoid driving at night or in bad weather, even in the city
Public transportation :
Avoid all public transportation, especially shared taxis—“tap taps”—and buses. Drivers do not always follow the rules of the road, and their vehicles are sometimes in poor condition or overloaded, which often leads to serious accidents involving injuries and sometimes death.
Ferry accidents sometimes occur due to overloading and poor maintenance of some vessels. Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.
Air Transport :
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.”