Do-Or-Die RESCUE – Can They Pull It Off?!

As Haiti wallows in chaos in the wake of an effective coup by gangs, the United States has mobilized assets to rescue Americans from the island nation. As water, food, health care and communications infrastructure crumbles amid ongoing intense street violence, helicopters and airplanes have been extracting stranded US citizens since March 17, when the massive airlift operation started.

According to State Department spokesman Vedant Patel, current efforts focus primarily on Americans who wish to evacuate the Port-Au-Prince area, as that’s where the worst of the chaos is currently happening. Americans who are interested in leaving are encouraged to stay in touch with the embassy to keep abreast of developments in departure options.

The operation started with a government-chartered helicopter retrieving thirty Americans from Port-au-Prince, and sorties have continued on a daily basis since then. Since gangs shut down the Port-au-Prince International Airport, a second extraction point has been added in the northern area of Cap-Haitien, 125 miles from Port-au-Prince, which, under current conditions, constitutes a five-hour car ride.

The State Department has said it cannot currently offer escort or protection to the extraction points—citizens seeking to evacuate must reach these points at their own risk.

Americans are currently warned against travel to Haiti due to the elevated risk of crime, kidnapping, the high levels of civil unrest, and the inadequate hospital infrastructure to deal with the fallout from all the violence. Further, those citizens who are already in Haiti are urged to leave at the earliest possible opportunity.

The violence in Haiti has been escalating sharply since late February. The street gangs who are leading the insurrection have opened the prisons and let the convicts flood into the streets, now control roughly 80% of the Haitian capitol. The convicts, numbering in the thousands, have attacked numerous government buildings and killed scores of civilians.

It may yet be some time before the conflict dies down normalcy returns to Haiti.