Haiti travel warning issued by U.S., Canadians cautioned
High crime rates, political tensions among reasons cited
The U.S. State Department is warning against travel to Haiti because of recent reports of killings, robbery and infectious disease, and Ottawa is also urging Canadians to "exercise a high degree of caution" because of high crime rates in various parts of Haiti.
The U.S. travel advisory issued Friday says any visitors to Haiti could be at risk of being kidnapped.
The department says people arriving in Port-au-Prince from the U.S. have been attacked and robbed after leaving the airport, with at least two Americans shot and killed in 2012.
"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," the advisory says. "Travellers to Haiti are encouraged to use organizations that have solid infrastructure, evacuation and medical support options in place."
The department says Haitian authorities have limited capacity to deter or investigate violent acts or prosecute criminals.
"The ability of local authorities to respond to emergencies is limited and in some areas non-existent," it says.
The State Department also notes that cholera persists in many areas of Haiti and medical facilities are particularly weak.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada said in an advisory updated Dec. 21 and validated Saturday that Canadians "should exercise a high degree of caution due to high crime rates in various parts of the country and ongoing political tensions."
The department is advising against non-essential travel to the neighbourhoods of Martissant, Carrefour, Bel Air and Cité Soleil in the Port-au-Prince area "as the security situation is particularly unstable and dangerous."