TRAVEL CONDITIONS UPDATE.
The U.S. State Department on January 22 issued an update on travel conditions in Haiti, which should be of interest to both business and leisure visitors. Relevant highlights follow: 4. Country description: Haiti is one of the least developed countries in the Western Hemisphere. While supplies of goods and services are adequate in Port-au-Prince, there are shortages in other parts of the country. Tourism facilities in Port-au-Prince are adequate, but in most of Haiti, they are virtually non-existent; Medical facilities: Medical care in Port-au-Prince is limited and the level of community sanitation is low. Medical facilities outside the capital are generally below U.S. standards. Life-threatening emergencies may require evacuation by air ambulance at the patient's expense. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Travelers should strongly consider supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage, including medical evacuation; Crime information: Crime, already at a high level, is of increasing concern. Murders, carjackings, armed robberies and break-ins contribute to safety and security concerns. Some of these crimes, which sometimes occur during daylight hours in crowded areas, appear to be specifically aimed at foreigners. Several fatalities occurred in 1998. Travelers should be particularly alert when leaving the Port-au-Prince airport, as criminals have been known to follow arriving passengers from the airport to private residences where they carry out assaults and robberies; some recent incidents have resulted in deaths; Visitors and residents should exercise extreme caution when driving along Route Nationale No. 1, the airport road, in the port area and in Cite Soleil, as crimes involving vehicles occur regularly. While most crimes occur in these areas, neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, such as the Delmas Road area and Petionville, formerly considered safer, have witnessed an increasing incidence of crime. There are no "safe areas". Crime victims are often frustrated by the lack of response and enforcement capabilities of the local police and judiciary; Areas of instability: Haiti continues to experience occasional civil unrest, including unofficial roadblocks in all regions of the country. Travelers encountering a roadblock or large crowd should remain calm and use common sense in departing quickly. Violence can flare up at any time; Traffic safety/road conditions: Road conditions in Haiti are very poor. Paved roads in Port-au-Prince and major provincial capitals are littered with potholes and many are badly eroded. Most roads in the country are unpaved and unlit. Port-au-Prince traffic is congested most of the day as a result of the poor roads, the undisciplined driving, badly maintained vehicles, a plethora of street merchants, itinerant mechanics and pedestrians. Traffic laws are similar to those in the U.S. but are not generally enforced. Travel at night on intercity highways should be avoided, particularly on Route Nationale No. 1, due to vehicles traveling at excessive speeds; Embassy location/registration: U.S. citizens in Haiti are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince located on Rue Oswald Durand; Tel: (509) 23-7011; Fax: (509) 23-1641. The U.S. Embassy is located on Harry Truman Blvd.; Tel: (509) 22-0200, 22-0354, 23-0955 or 22-0269; Fax: (509) 23-1641.
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|Date:||Mar 1, 1999|
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