HomeTop StoriesThe US is reviewing Haiti's evacuation options as Americans and Haitians hope...

The US is reviewing Haiti’s evacuation options as Americans and Haitians hope to escape gang violence

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – The US State Department says it is exploring options to evacuate US citizens who are trapped Haitiwhere a power vacuum has seen violent gangs take control of most of the capital and force more than 15,000 people to flee their homes.

Ten U.S. citizens arrived in Florida on Tuesday aboard a private plane chartered by missionaries from Haiti.

As CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez discovered in Haiti’s northern city of Cap-Haïtien, many others still hope to escape — and worry about those they may have to leave behind.

“We continue to explore the options available to us when it comes to U.S. citizens interested in leaving Haiti,” State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said Tuesday. He said nearly a thousand people had filled out a crisis intake form through the department’s website, looking for help or a way to escape Haiti.

He said the State Department would “continue to engage with those American citizens.”

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TOPSHOT-HAITI-POLITICAL-UREST-PROTEST
Residents react after a dozen people were murdered in the streets by gang members in Petion Ville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 18, 2024.

CLARENS SIFFROY/AFP/Getty


Asked whether the U.S. government supports private evacuation flights organized, in some cases with the help of members of the U.S. Congress, Patel said such missions “that deviate from the formal State Department operations” could pose significant risk . But he emphasized that the administration welcomes any American citizen who wants to get to safety.

Gregoire Leconte, who has a U.S. passport, was among hundreds of people in Cap-Haïtien who tried to flee the country on Tuesday, without a flight to leave.

“The situation is very bad in Haiti,” he told CBS News.

One woman, who asked not to be identified, expressed fear for the friends and family she could soon leave behind, but made it clear the risks were too great.

“People go into your house, kill, rape and all that stuff, and burn your house down,” she said.


Haiti’s future is in limbo and its leadership is in shambles

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While many waited for an opportunity to depart, a mission flight from Fort Pierce, Florida landed in Cap-Haïtien with approximately 5,300 pounds of critical humanitarian supplies, including food and baby formula.

CBS Miami’s Tania Francois was the only journalist on that flight. Airport officials told her this was the first plane to fly from the U.S. to Haiti carrying passengers and in dire need of supplies.

The plane later flew south from Cap-Haïtien to the town of Pignon, about halfway between the northern port city and the chaos of Port-au-Prince. It later brought 14 people back to Florida; Ten US passport holders and four Haitian nationals.

“It is not what I wish, because Haiti is my country,” Haitian passenger Christla Pierre told Francois. She said she traveled to the US because it was the only way her 15-month-old son, a US citizen, could see a pediatrician.

Another Haitian on the plane, Annexe Soufferance, said he was returning to the U.S. on a student visa after visiting family in the Caribbean country.

“I am happy for the opportunity to study in the US, but my goal is to come back and serve my country,” he said.

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