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Canada adds Haiti evacuation flight next week after last-minute requests

Montreal — Canada will offer an additional evacuation flight out of Haiti next week due to a spike in the number of requests to flee the Caribbean country that poured in just as Canada was set to wind down its efforts, the federal government said Sunday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said in a message on X that officials logged numerous extra requests leading up to what was set to be the last scheduled government-sponsored flight out of the country.

“As our assisted departures out of Haiti came to a close, we saw an influx of last-minute requests for help,” she wrote on the social media platform on Sunday. “For those who missed today’s flight, we will have an additional flight this coming week.”

A government-organized flight left Sunday and was expected to be the last of three as Canada wound down its evacuation efforts in Haiti, which is contending with brazen gang violence and a shortage of food and medicines.

“Obviously the situation in Haiti is extraordinarily difficult, which is why over the past couple of years, Canada has been deeply, deeply involved in support for the Haitian national police, in international diplomatic efforts to bring democratic stability to Haiti, and we are there for vulnerable Canadians who happen to be in Haiti,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday during an unrelated pre-budget announcement in Montreal.

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“We started our evacuations a number of weeks ago and we’re going to continue to make sure we’re there to support people as best as possible.”

On the sidelines of the Montreal news conference, Joly said the additional flight would satisfy everyone’s concerns.

Joly said Friday her department had been “closely monitoring” requests for help and decided that no further flights would be needed.

She announced last week that Canada would use helicopters to get Canadians from the capital of Port-au-Prince to an undisclosed location, then bring them to Montreal by chartered flight.

One flight left Wednesday, followed by another Friday in addition to Sunday’s departure.

Canada had previously been airlifting people by helicopter to the Dominican Republic, but only citizens with Canadian passports were eligible to make the trip. Permanent residents were excluded.

Those travelling to Montreal pay the equivalent of a commercial fare, while Canadians who were brought to the Dominican Republic were responsible for their own accommodation and flights home, with Global Affairs offering assistance as needed.

Global Affairs Canada said earlier this week that it had helped more than 250 Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their close relatives leave Haiti.

&copy 2024 The Canadian Press


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