(Bloomberg) -- The US government urged its citizens to leave Haiti as soon as possible, as escalating gang violence makes it harder to travel.
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In a statement, the US embassy in the country said commercial flights are filling up so quickly that seats may only be available days or weeks in advance.
“US citizens wishing to depart Port-au-Prince should monitor local news and only do so when considered safe,” the embassy said on Wednesday.
Among the US commercial airlines that are still flying to Haiti are American Airlines, JetBlue and Spirit.
On Wednesday, the first available American Airlines flight from Port-au-Prince to Miami was Sept. 6 and cost $1,972. JetBlue only had openings for Sept. 18 at $605. Spirit’s website showed no availability to destinations in Florida or New York.
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Years of political turmoil and grinding poverty have led hundreds of thousands to leave their homes. US Customs and Border Protection says it has either stopped or deported some 125,688 Haitians this fiscal year, more than double last year’s figures.
Violence has grown more severe since the 2021 murder of President Jovenel Moise. The US evacuated all non-essential staff weeks ago and other personnel have been restricted to the compound.
Kenya has said it would consider leading a multinational security force to help pacify the nation, but it’s unclear if and when that might happen.
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“Haiti faces a challenging macroeconomic outlook amid a dire humanitarian crisis,” the International Monetary Fund said in a statement on Wednesday. “The country has been hit hard by economic spillovers from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including food price inflation that has triggered a hunger crisis.”
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