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France Saves Swiss Nationals Stuck In Haiti

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 28 March 2024

France orchestrates a critical evacuation of 170 citizens and Europeans, including Swiss SDC staff, from tumultuous Haiti.

France Saves Swiss Nationals Stuck In Haiti
Keystone/ODELYN JOSEPH

In view of the desolate security situation in Haiti, France has flown 170 of its citizens and 70 other Europeans – including staff from the Swiss SDC office – and other nationals out of the Caribbean state.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Defense, the most vulnerable people were allowed to leave the country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris announced on Wednesday.

The evacuees were flown by French army helicopters to a French ship that would take them to Fort-de-France, the capital of the French Caribbean island of Martinique. Commercial flights to Haiti have been suspended due to the situation there.

SDC Staff Left Haiti

According to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in Bern, three members of the foreign staff of the Humanitarian Office of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) were able to leave Haiti on Sunday with French support. These people will be temporarily relocated to Santo Domingo in the neighbouring Dominican Republic.

This meant that all Swiss staff at the SDC office were able to leave the country, as a FDFA spokesperson told the Keystone-SDA news agency.

70 Swiss People in Haiti

The FDFA is aware of around seventy Swiss nationals in Haiti. Some of them have expressed the wish to leave the country. The FDFA and the Swiss embassy in Santo Domingo are “supporting them as far as possible”, said the spokesperson.

The already extremely tense security and humanitarian situation in Haiti had deteriorated further since the end of February. Gang violence prevented interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry from returning from a trip abroad – he announced his resignation.

Plans for a new interim government, preparations for the first elections since 2016 and a multinational mission to support the Haitian police have not yet been implemented. Even before the latest escalation, various armed groups had a total of around 80 percent of the capital Port-au-Prince under their control, according to UN figures.

France’s embassy in the French-speaking former colony of Haiti remains open, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday. Around two weeks ago, the German ambassador and all foreign employees of the EU representation left Haiti. The US military flew out non-essential US embassy personnel.

©Keystone/SDA

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