International SOS helped evacuate a group of students following the assassination of Haiti's president, Jovenel Moïse.
Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated on July 7, 2021 in his private residence outside the capital of Port-au-Prince. This left an initial power vacuum and an unstable security situation.
A small group of students were in a rural area about 100 miles from the capital, and the school’s authorised person contacted us to discuss evacuation options. With road travel risky because of roadblocks and possible looting, the viable solution was an evacuation by air. The group had enough supplies to stand fast in their secure location until transport home could be secured.
Evacuation plans were immediately put into motion. Although the border to neighboring Dominican Republic was closed, some air traffic was permitted with special authorisation. Through government and local contacts, a helicopter was chartered from the Dominican Republic to a local airfield near the students’ location. Secure transport for the students was arranged by road to the airfield.
The helicopter took the group to the international airport in Port-au-Prince, then an aircraft charter flight back to the United States. COVID-19 testing was also organised to facilitate entry back into the U.S.
With the help of International SOS, the students arrived home safely. The evacuation mission was a testament to our boots-on-the-ground presence and connections in Haiti, as well as cooperation between medical and security teams in the Philadelphia office.