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U.S. government warns travelers of robbery, kidnappings, and disease in Haiti

Dec 31, 2012 12:20 am

Skift Take

An increase in violence and the continued absence of emergency health resources has prompted the U.S. to toughen its Haitian travel warning, which was originally issued in June.

— Samantha Shankman

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Dieu Nalio Chery  / AP Photo

A woman covers her mouth and nose as she walks past an active fire at Port Market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday Dec. 29, 2012. Dieu Nalio Chery / AP Photo


The State Department has issued a revised Haiti travel advisory, warning Americans planning to travel to the Caribbean island nation about robbery, lawlessness, infectious disease and poor medical facilities.

“U.S. citizens have been victims of violent crime, including murder and kidnapping, predominantly in the Port-au-Prince area. No one is safe from kidnapping, regardless of occupation, nationality, race, gender or age,” the department said.

The new travel warning was released Friday to replace a less strongly worded advisory issued in June.

In recent months, travelers arriving in Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city, on flights from the United States have been attacked and robbed after leaving the airport. This year, at least two U.S. citizens were shot and killed in robbery and kidnapping incidents, the State Department said.

“Haitian authorities have limited capacity to deter or investigate such violent acts or prosecute perpetrators,” the department said.

The State Department also noted that while the incidents of cholera have declined, the disease persists in many areas of Haiti. Medical facilities, including ambulance services, are particularly weak.

“Thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Haiti each year, but the poor state of Haiti’s emergency response network should be carefully considered when planning travel. Travelers to Haiti are encouraged to use organizations that have solid infrastructure, evacuation and medical support options in place,” the department said.

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