Freeland urges Canadians to 'consider leaving' Haiti
Cillian O'Brien, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Saturday, February 16, 2019 3:05PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 16, 2019 5:20PM EST
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has urged Canadians in Haiti to take commercial flights out of the crisis-hit Caribbean country while they still can.
In a conference call from the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of top global defence and foreign policy officials, Freeland told media that her department is following developments in Haiti “very closely.”
“Our diplomats on the ground are in touch with their counterparts from other countries to share information and advice,” she said.
“They are also in touch with local authorities and consular services are being provided to Canadians.”
Freeland reminded Canadians of the federal government’s updated travel advisory for Haiti, which urges people to avoid all travel to the nation due to ongoing civil unrest.
“We are also suggesting that people who are there now should consider leaving while commercial means to leave are available and they currently are,” she said.
“Our consular officials are there and they are ready to help.”
More than 100 Quebec tourists, who have been trapped in Haiti due to violent street protests, are expected to return to Canada Saturday.
Helicopter evacuations began Saturday morning to transport travellers from a resort hotel on the Caribbean country's Cote des Arcadins to the airport in the capital of Port-au-Prince.
Air Transat, which sold the tourists the vacation package, is providing the flight back to Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. The flight is expected to land Saturday evening.
Other Canadians stuck in Haiti have also been making their way to the airport by way of helicopter flights or harrowing road journeys.
Protests demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise have claimed several lives over the past week.
Protesters are angry about skyrocketing inflation and the government's failure to prosecute embezzlement from a multi-billion Venezuelan program that sent discounted oil to Haiti.
Freeland urged Canadians in Haiti to get in touch with Global Affairs Canada by calling 1-613-996-8885 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
With files from The Canadian Press