NewsHaiti's International Airport Reopens Following Gang Violence

Haiti’s International Airport Reopens Following Gang Violence

Thank goodness!

Three months after relentless gang violence forced authorities to stop all air traffic, Haiti’s main international airport reopened. 

The distance proved difficult for Haitians seeking to leave the country as roads between Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien were controlled by gangs seen shooting at cars and buses that passed through. 

Due to the violence, the U.S. government and nonprofit groups evacuated hundreds of American citizens by helicopter. However, U.S. military planes have returned to the Port-au-Prince airport with medication, hydration fluids, and civilian contractors to assist the country in preparing for foreign forces to arrive.

While the airport is open to the public, only Sunrise Airways, a local carrier, is now flying in and out of Port-au-Prince. U.S.-based airlines aren’t expected to take off until late May or June. 

According to the Associated Press, the first commercial passenger flight to leave the airport since March headed to Miami and took off almost two hours behind schedule. Passengers were seen complaining of the intense heat due to the lack of air conditioning until takeoff. When the plane finally hurried down the runway, one passenger whispered, “Yes. Yes.”

Sunrise contracted with World Atlantic, a Florida-based charter airline, which distributed paper towels to passengers to cool off.

Airport workers like Klav-Dja Raphael are excited to return to work as the closure allowed the airport only to supply a month’s wages. She solely relied on friends and family for financial assistance, but there is still concern about the gangs coming back as she remembered bullets ricocheting through the airport the day of the attack. “We are scared because they can still attack us here,” Raphael said. 

“We must come in. It’s our job, but we’re afraid.” 

Following the airport attack, former Prime Minister Ariel Henry was locked out of the country while on an official trip to Kenya. He resigned while a transitional presidential council searched for a new prime minister. The commission is also responsible for bringing in a new Cabinet and organizing general elections. 

Source: Black Enterprise

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