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State Department strengthens Haiti travel warning

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 29, 2012 at 12:20 p.m.

— The State Department has issued a revised Haiti travel advisory, warning Americans planning to travel to the Caribbean island nation about robbery, lawlessness, infectious disease and poor medical facilities.

“U.S. citizens have been victims of violent crime, including murder and kidnapping, predominantly in the Port-au-Prince area. No one is safe from kidnapping, regardless of occupation, nationality, race, gender or age,” the department said.

The new travel warning was released Friday to replace a less strongly worded advisory issued in June.

In recent months, travelers arriving in Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city, on flights from the United States have been attacked and robbed after leaving the airport. This year, at least two U.S. citizens were shot and killed in robbery and kidnapping incidents, the State Department said.

“Haitian authorities have limited capacity to deter or investigate such violent acts or prosecute perpetrators,” the department said.

The State Department also noted that while the incidents of cholera have declined, the disease persists in many areas of Haiti. Medical facilities, including ambulance services, are particularly weak.

“Thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Haiti each year, but the poor state of Haiti’s emergency response network should be carefully considered when planning travel. Travelers to Haiti are encouraged to use organizations that have solid infrastructure, evacuation and medical support options in place,” the department said.

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