Taiwan issues orange travel warning for Haiti after protests

Demonstrators run away from police who are shooting in their direction, as a car burns during a protest demanding the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. Protesters are angry about skyrocketing inflation and the government's failure to prosecute embezzlement from a multi-billion Venezuelan program that sent discounted oil to Haiti. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA, 外交部) on Feb. 17 issued an “orange” travel warning, its second highest, for Haiti after political turmoil in its Caribbean ally intensified with widespread protests demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise claiming several lives over the past week.

The ministry urged Taiwanese citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Haiti and asked those who need to visit to exercise extreme caution.

MOFA uses red, orange, yellow and gray in a four-color code to indicate levels of alert for people traveling overseas, with red the highest warning level and gray the lowest.

The ministry’s statement came after Canada closed its embassy in Haiti the day before and evacuated more than 100 of its citizens from the country due to widespread, violent demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti.

Protesters in Haiti are angry about skyrocketing inflation and the government’s failure to prosecute embezzlement related to a multi-billion-dollar Venezuelan program that sent discounted oil to Haiti.

The latest protests started on Feb. 7 and have intensified since Feb. 13 when protesters started burning tires, blocking roads and engaging in violent criminal behavior, according to MOFA.

All Taiwanese expatriates and staff members at Taiwan’s Embassy in Haiti are safe, MOFA said It also urged protesters and the Haitian government to engage in dialogue to resolve their differences and end the turmoil as soon as possible.

In the event of an emergency during a visit to the area, MOFA said Taiwanese nationals can request assistance from Taiwan’s embassy in Haiti at (+509) 3113-4662 or ask their families to call the toll-free 24/7 hotline on 0800-085-095 to reach MOFA in Taipei.

By Joseph Yeh