Crisis in Haiti: 243 people evacuated to Martinique, the majority of them French

They were blocked by violent anti-government demonstrations

Crisis in Haiti: 243 people evacuated to Martinique, the majority of them French

They were blocked by violent anti-government demonstrations. A group of nearly 250 people, including 163 French nationals, was able to leave Haiti and is expected on Friday March 29 in Martinique, said the prefect of this French department in the Caribbean. Three ships of the national navy are expected in Fort-de-France, declared Thursday, during a press conference, the prefect of Martinique and the senior commander of the armed forces in the Antilles.

On board are 243 people – 163 French and 80 foreigners – half of whom are nationals of European Union countries, according to the prefect of Martinique, Jean-Christophe Bouvier. “French nationals will be offered an immediate return to France,” assured the prefect, adding that they “could benefit the same day from a flight chartered by the Ministry of Europe and Affairs foreign countries,” added Mr. Bouvier.

Furthermore, the prefecture specified that foreign nationals for whom administrative regularization of their visas is necessary would spend one night in Martinique before possible departure from the territory.

“Setting up special flights”

Haiti, already the victim of a very serious political and security crisis, has been gripped by renewed violence since the beginning of March, with several gangs joining forces to attack strategic locations in Port-au-Prince. On Sunday evening, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the establishment of “special flights”.

“French nationals who wished to benefit from special flights (…) were able to board French helicopters to join a national navy vessel which will transport them to Fort-de-France soon,” a diplomatic source explained to AFP .

“Two hundred and six transfers were made by helicopter to the Tonnerre [an amphibious helicopter carrier] (…) between March 24 and 26 [departing from] (…) Port-au-Prince,” detailed Thursday Nicolas Lambropoulos , senior commander of the armed forces in the West Indies. Some 1,100 French people, including a large number of dual nationals, live in Haiti, according to figures from the Quai d'Orsay.