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Haiti: Ottawa launches evacuation operation

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar26,2024

Haïti : Ottawa launches an evacuation operation

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Mélanie Joly clarified that the evacuation operation will give priority to the most vulnerable people.


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Ottawa launches a x27;evacuation for the most vulnerable Canadians in Haiti, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced Monday.

The minister explained that the government will facilitate the movement of these Canadians from Haiti to the Dominican Republic. As the conditions of access to this country are strict, only people holding a valid Canadian passport will be eligible for this assisted departure. Permanent residents are therefore not eligible for the moment.

Nearly 3,000 Canadian nationals are still believed to be in Haiti. However, they would not be as keen to leave the country.

Global Affairs Canada is said to have contacted the approximately 300 Canadians who inquired about departure possibilities. Of these, approximately 100 people met the criteria.

Fewer than 30 Canadians would like to leave Haiti immediately. Of these, 18 were to be evacuated by helicopter as part of this operation on Monday, but this could not be done for weather reasons.

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For almost two years, we have been advising Canadians not to travel to Haiti due to the security situation in the country. At the same time, we know that the security situation has deteriorated in recent weeks and that those who wish to leave cannot do so due to the situation at the airport.

A quote from Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada

Update with our special correspondent Jean-François Bélanger

Every day that passes, there are clashes between gangs and the police. It is not easy. I have no hope since the politicians of Haiti only see their pockets. We can say it like that, said a man interviewed by our special correspondent Jean-François Bélanger.

Another person interviewed by Radio-Canada admitted to being a little relieved, but also sad. I left my family, I left all my belongings. I have to leave the country, she said.

That has to change because I would like to return to my country, live in my country, added this woman.

Priority is given to the most vulnerable people, that is to say Canadians needing medical assistance or those who have children.

Minister Joly assures that other assisted departure options are being studied for other Canadians (and members of their families) still in Haiti, as well as for permanent residents (and their families) still in Haiti.

The minister also urges Canadians present in Haiti to register with Business Canada.

Last week, federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller described the difficulties in getting Canadian nationals out of Haiti due to the fact that the [Port-au-Prince] airport is closed and the exit route with the Dominican Republic is closed.

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A woman carrying a child flees after gunshots ring out in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 20, 2024 .

Haiti and in particular its capital, Port-au-Prince, have been the scene of an outbreak of gang violence in recent weeks, while Haitians await the establishment of a presidential transition council after the #x27;announcement of the resignation of the contested Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Sunday, France announced the implementation of a measure similar to that announced Monday by Canada, organizing special flights to allow its most vulnerable nationals to leave Haiti. Some 1,100 French people live in Haiti.

The United States, for their part, also evacuated certain nationals in the last week.

Mélanie Joly took advantage of the press conference to welcome the adoption by the UN Security Council of a motion calling for a lasting ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, in the Middle East, a measure which, she wishes to emphasize, has been requested by Canada since December.

Global Affairs Canada indicates that Canadians who need Emergency consular assistance can contact its Emergency Watch and Response Center in Ottawa, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

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With information from Agence France-Presse

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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