Canada, US urge citizens to leave Haiti amid increasing turmoil
Ottawa/IBNS: Increasing insecurity and a severe lack of fuel in Haiti have adversely affected hospitals, schools, and banks causing both Canada and the United States (US) to urge their respective citizens to leave country.
"Widespread fuel shortages may limit essential services in an emergency, including access to banks, money transfers, urgent medical care, internet and telecommunications, and public and private transportation options," the State Department warned on Wednesday.
"The U.S. Embassy is unlikely to be able to assist U.S. citizens in Haiti with departure if commercial options become unavailable," CBC News reported.
Gas stations remained closed on Thursday and a struggle ensued between Haiti's government and police to control gangs that have blocked fuel distribution terminals for several weeks.
Canada also issued a similar warning on Wednesday: "If you're in Haiti and your presence isn't essential, consider leaving if you can do so safely," CBC News reports said.
The warnings emerged as a result of the US and Haitian authorities trying to secure the safe release of 17 members of a missionary group from Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries who were kidnapped by the 400 Mawozo gangs on Oct 16.
Present in this group are 16 US citizens five of whom are children and one Canadian. Their Haitian driver also was abducted.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)