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Canada has initiated helicopter flights to help ‘vulnerable’ citizens in Haiti leave for the neighboring Dominican Republic. Foreign Minister Melanie Joly announced that the Canadian government would assist the most vulnerable Canadians, including those with medical conditions or children, in leaving Haiti. At present, only Canadian citizens with valid passports are eligible for this evacuation program. On Monday, 18 Canadian citizens had already left Haiti via this programme. Canada has nearly 180,000 people of Haitian descent, with Haitian Canadians urging the government to do more to help their relatives stuck in Haiti during a period of escalating violence and instability.

In early March, armed gangs launched attacks on various state institutions in Port-au-Prince and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, leading to a surge in violence and displacing more than 360,000 Haitians. Many people are trapped in their homes without access to essential supplies, leading to a growing food crisis in the country. Gangs are in control of nearly 90 percent of neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, making everyday tasks such as grocery shopping, seeking medical care, or visiting pharmacies increasingly difficult. The humanitarian situation in Haiti is dire, with the main airport in Port-au-Prince closed due to unrest and aid containers being looted by armed groups.

Regarding Canada’s evacuation programme, Foreign Minister Joly explained that evacuees must reach a safe gathering point from where they will be airlifted to the Dominican Republic by helicopter. The exact details of the operation have not been disclosed to prevent potential targeting by gangs. The Canadian government is exploring additional options to assist more Canadians, permanent residents, and their families in leaving Haiti. The United States has also launched helicopter evacuation flights from Haiti to the Dominican Republic, with American citizens then responsible for their own onward travel to the United States. More than 230 US citizens had departed Haiti since mid-March, including from locations like Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien.

The situation in Haiti continues to deteriorate, with ongoing violence, political instability, and a deepening humanitarian crisis. The Canadian and American governments are taking measures to evacuate their citizens and help them reach safety in neighboring countries. The large Haitian diaspora communities in both Canada and the United States are calling for more assistance to be provided to those affected by the crisis in Haiti. Efforts are being made to address the immediate needs of vulnerable individuals and families, as well as finding long-term solutions to the complex challenges facing Haiti. The international community is closely monitoring the situation and working together to provide support and aid to those affected by the ongoing crisis in the country.

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