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- Two years later, the U.S. still warns against travel to Haiti
- December 10th, 2011 11:11 AM
By Life Quotes, Inc. Staff
Volunteering to help a country that was struck by a major disaster is a noble gesture, but it could also put an individual’s life at risk.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning against those planning to visit Haiti to join in recovery efforts after the country was struck by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January 2010. Since then, nonessential travel to the nation should be avoided, according to travel warnings as recent as August 2011, issued by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs.
The earthquake destroyed its capital, Port-au-Prince, and left 315,000 individuals dead. Aftershocks caused further damage. Many members of the international community came together to provide humanitarian aid and take part in relief efforts at hospitals and communication centers only to find that the dangers of traveling to Haiti may not be worth the serious risks involved.
Since the earthquake, U.S. citizens have been victims of random violent crimes including murder and kidnapping in Port-au-Prince. There have been reports of U.S. citizens being attacked and robbed after leaving the airport. The Haitian Police and UN Police can only provide limited protections to Americans and other members of the international community because of escalating civil unrest in the Port-au-Prince area. Even the U.S. Embassy in Haiti has implemented a curfew for their staff members not to travel into certain areas after nightfall.
Last year Haiti was further impacted by a massive cholera outbreak, which dramatically reduced access to adequate medical care at the remaining medical facilities that have been providing treatment after the outbreak. The State Department reports that U.S. citizens in search of medical care have been forced to pay for medical evacuation to the U.S. because medical facilities have been stressed to the limit.
“Many medical facilities have been operating beyond maximum capacity, and the current sanitation situation poses serious health risks,” the warning says. “The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide emergency consular services is limited, and the U.S. government has discontinued evacuation assistance.”
The CDC recommends those wanting to help Haiti and other areas struck by natural disasters to consider making a donation to a reputable charitable organization instead.
Individuals who visit an unstable country that poses a serious health risk may want to invest in a life insurance policy to protect the financial well-being of any dependents they would leave behind in the event the unthinkable happens.
This article was originally published by Life Quotes, Inc.
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