Haiti protests strand U.S. church groups; some flights resume

Photo: UPI/My Life Speaks

July 9 (UPI) — Multiple youth groups from churches in the United States have remained stranded in Haiti amid protests in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince following a fuel price hike.

Nonprofit group My Life Speaks said Saturday that mission teams from Woodland Community Church in Bradenton, Fla., and the Glade Church in Mount Juliet, Tenn., remained in Haiti after being unable to get to the airport due to protests and roadblocks.

“We have chosen to stay safe and sound here in Neply. With the potential of violence surrounding these incidents we are committed to the safety and security of our team, our staff, our community, and the people of Haiti,” the group said.

My Life Speaks shared an additional update on Sunday, stating mission staff from both churches remain safe in Neply and the organization is working to make arrangements to return to the United States in the next few days.

American Airlines resumed some flights to Haiti on Sunday after halting travel to the island due to the protests.

The airline followed through with four of its seven scheduled flights to Haiti, while the other three were canceled.

Jet Blue issued a statement saying it hadn’t resumed service to Haiti on Sunday.

“We continue to monitor reports of civil unrest near the Port-Au-Prince airport and have canceled today’s flights. Customers should check their flight status before heading to the airport,” said Jet Blue spokeswoman Mindy Romero.

The U.S. embassy to Haiti warned U.S. citizens Saturday to stay inside during the violent demonstrations, which have resulted in at least three deaths.

Haiti’s Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant on Saturday appealed for calm and announced a temporary stop to the price increases, which were to rise by 38 percent.


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