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The initial charter flight carrying American citizens escaping Haiti arrives in Miami.

A charter flight transporting dozens of U.S. citizens escaping escalating gang violence in Haiti touched down in Miami on Sunday, as confirmed by U.S. State Department officials.

According to an official statement, the government-chartered flight accommodated more than 30 U.S. citizens, landing at Miami International Airport. This evacuation initiative follows an advisory from the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince earlier in the month, urging American citizens to depart “as soon as possible” amidst the turmoil engulfing Haiti.

Among the passengers was Avlot Quessa, a resident of Boston, who made the journey from the heart of Haiti to board the charter flight. Quessa, who had initially planned a weeklong visit to his mother in Haiti last month, described the dire situation in the nearby Caribbean nation as “terrible” and expressed distress witnessing his homeland grapple with violence and destruction.

Haiti’s primary airport in Port-au-Prince remains shuttered due to recent gang assaults that have plunged the country into chaos, exacerbating a humanitarian crisis with reports of widespread looting of aid supplies.

In response to the deteriorating situation, the State Department announced on Saturday the provision of limited charter flights for American citizens departing from the comparatively less turbulent northern city of Cap-Haïtien. However, officials clarified that ground transportation to Cap-Haïtien would not be facilitated, advising citizens to consider the charter flights only if they could safely reach the airport.

The agency emphasized the importance of U.S. citizens in Haiti seeking to depart to utilize the crisis intake form on the State Department website if they had not already done so. Evacuees utilizing the government-coordinated flights are required to sign a promissory bill agreeing to reimburse the government for the service.

Another passenger on Sunday’s flight, Marie Lucie St. Fleur of West Palm Beach, expressed her profound connection to Haiti and her distress at witnessing its current plight. Despite her desire to remain in her homeland, she lamented the circumstances that forced her to leave.

Upon arrival in Miami, government officials are assisting the evacuees in determining their next course of action. The U.S. military recently deployed additional forces to reinforce security at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, situated in an area largely controlled by gangs, in response to escalating tensions.

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