Group of 24 aid workers from Haiti Arise is paying $6,900 cost of evacuation

A group of 24 missionaries from Alberta has arrived safely at the Port-au-Prince airport in Haiti and is scheduled to fly out of the country Saturday afternoon.

Working for the aid group Haiti Arise, the missionaries had been stranded for several days at their compound near Grand Goave, about 65 kilometres west of the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

The members were airlifted by helicopter to Toussaint Louverture International Airport in three waves. The first group was then able to get on a flight to Miami, the second was scheduled to depart for Miami about 4 p.m. ET and the third at 5:20 p.m ET.

The cost of the evacuation for the whole group is about $6,900, which they are paying themselves.

They were originally scheduled to leave the country on Wednesday, however the ongoing protests meant ground travel was impossible as several of the main streets and roads are blocked or damaged.

In unrest centred mainly around the capital city, protesters are demanding the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse over skyrocketing inflation and the government’s failure to prosecute embezzlement from a multi-billion dollar Venezuelan program that sent discounted oil to the country.

“We got some reports from people coming out that it’s starting to spread, so it may get dangerous in the bigger cities,” said James Roberts, vice-president of Haiti Arise.

On Tuesday, Global Affairs Canada issued an advisory warning against all non-essential travel to the country. On Thursday, it advised against all travel.

The Canadian Embassy in Haiti was also closed on Wednesday due to the unrest.

The group is safe at the compound, said Roberts, however there is concern about dwindling supplies like food, water and fuel.

Working in the country since 2002, Haiti Arise has three compounds near Grand Goave.

“We have a staff of just over 100 Haitian nationals,” he said.

“We have a primary school with about 400 kids. We have an adult trade school with about 350 students. We have a medical clinic. We have a children’s village with 18 rescued slave children. We have a legal aid clinic. We’re building a birthing centre — we’re there long-term.” Continue reading

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