TRAVEL WARNING: HAITI…Duh!
The U.S. Department of State issued the following Travel Warning on January 14:
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the situation in Haiti and urges them to avoid travel to Haiti in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12. An earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck near Port Au Prince, followed by multiple aftershocks. The U.S. Embassy is working to ascertain the extent of the damage and check on the status of U.S. citizens around the island. The Department of State has ordered nonemergency U.S. government personnel to depart Haiti. This Travel Warning expires on February 13, 2010.
There are reports of extensive damage, and communications remain extremely difficult. Additional aftershocks remain a possibility. A Tsunami Watch for Haiti and neighboring islands issued by the Pacific Tsunami Alert Center has expired.
U.S. citizens in Haiti should remain in shelter. If exposed when an aftershock hits, take steps to avoid falling debris by getting to as open a space as possible, away from walls, windows, buildings and other structures. If indoors, take shelter under a heavy table or desk, or in a doorway. Avoid damaged buildings, and obey all instructions from local authorities. Do not use matches, lighters, candles or other flame in case of disrupted gas lines. Avoid downed power lines.
Evacuation flights have begun to depart the International Airport in Port-au-Prince. U.S. citizens wishing to depart Haiti should make their way to the airport during early daylight hours, in as safe a manner as possible. They are encouraged to bring their passport and identification, if available, and food, water and supplies, if possible, as facilities at the airport are limited to nonexistent.
If possible, U.S. citizens in Haiti should contact friends and relatives outside of Haiti to inform them of their welfare.
The U.S. Embassy in Port Au Prince has set up a task force at the Embassy which is taking calls as conditions permit. The Embassy is working to identify U.S. citizens in Haiti who need urgent assistance and to identify sources of emergency help.
U.S. citizens are urged to contact the Embassy via email at ACSPaP@state.gov to request assistance. U.S. citizens in Haiti can call the Embassy’s Consular Task Force at 509-2229-8942, 509-2229-8089, 509-2229-8322, or 509-2229-8672. The State Department has also created a task force to monitor the emergency. People in the U.S. or Canada with information or inquiries about U.S. citizens in Haiti may reach the Haiti Task Force at 888-407-4747. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, call 202-501-4444. For further information and updates, please see the State Department’s Consular Affairs website.