State Dept. confirms more than 30 Americans evacuated from Haiti on chartered flight

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The U.S. State Department confirmed Sunday that more than 30 American citizens landed safely in Miami, Florida, after being evacuated from Haiti amid ongoing gang violence in the country.

The passengers were flown on a government-chartered flight, which arrived at the Miami International Airport on Sunday afternoon after the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince urged U.S. citizens earlier this month to leave Haiti “as soon as possible” as chaos continues to unfold.

While the State Department said more than 30 American citizens were evacuated on the charter flight, a U.S. official told Fox News earlier on Sunday the more precise number was 47.

“On Sunday, March 17, the Department of State facilitated the safe departure from Cap-Haïtien, Haiti of over 30 U.S. citizens on a U.S. government charter flight,” the State Department said in a statement. “These passengers are now safely in Miami, Florida, where U.S. government officials are assisting with next steps. We will continue to assist U.S. citizens as long as commercial options remain unavailable and the security environment permits us to do so.”

HAITI RESCUE CHARTER FLIGHT CARRYING AMERICANS LANDS IN MIAMI AS GANG VIOLENCE ESCALATES

A man enters the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

A man enters the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

The flight took off from the city of Cap-Haïtien, about a five-and-a-half-hour drive north from the capital of Port-au-Prince, which is largely under the control of gangs.

Haiti’s main airport in Port-au-Prince remains closed following gang attacks that have escalated in recent weeks, pushing many people to the brink of famine. Government and aid agencies reported looting of aid supplies as the situation worsened.

The State Department announced Saturday it would offer limited charter flights for U.S. citizens from the less chaotic northern city of Cap-Haïtien. Officials said they could not provide ground transportation to Cap-Haïtien and U.S. citizens should consider the charter flights only if they think they can safely reach the Cap-Haïtien airport.

Americans taking the flights must sign a promissory bill agreeing to reimburse the government.

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“We encourage U.S. citizens still in Haiti who seek to depart to contact the Department of State using the crisis intake form on our website if they have not already done so,” the department said in its statement on Sunday. “We remain in contact with U.S. citizens in need of assistance in Haiti. We are examining options for departures out of Port-au-Prince and will inform U.S. citizens about them as soon as we are able to safely and securely arrange them.”

Haiti violence street photo

An armed member of the G9 and Family gang rolls a tire to burn at a roadblock in the Delmas 6 neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, March 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

The State Department said it is aware of at least several hundred more U.S. citizens who remain stuck in Haiti.

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Sunday’s rescue flight comes days after the State Department said there were no immediate plans to evacuate U.S. citizens, citing the many warnings cautioning against travel to Haiti over the last four years. 

The U.S. military last week flew in additional forces to bolster security and evacuate non-essential personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, which is located in a neighborhood largely controlled by gangs.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz, Bryan Llenas and Gillian Turner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.