US Embassy in Haiti requests more Marines, security personnel amid violence

The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, has requested additional security personnel including Marines as the Haitian capital has been gripped by days of protests over a government plan to raise fuel prices and cut food subsidies, according to multiple reports.

A request made by the embassy includes a Marine Security Guard Augmentation Unit consisting of about 13 Marines and other personnel to reinforce existing embassy security, CNN reported Tuesday.

The request has been approved by Trump administration officials, the network added.

Staff at the embassy have been instructed to shelter in place by State Department officials, and a travel advisory urging U.S. citizens to stay away from the airport unless absolutely necessary was issuedTuesday afternoon.

“Due to the security situation, U.S. government personnel continue to shelter in place and U.S. citizens are advised to do the same. If you attempt to go to the airport, exercise extreme caution and only do so if the route is open,” reads the advisoryposted on the State Department’s website.

“Do not travel to the airport unless you have a confirmed airline ticket. Contact the airline for information on seat availability. Expect large crowds and delays at the airport,” the statement continued.

Kerosene prices are expected to raise 51 percent, according to Haitian press, while other fuel sources such as gasoline and diesel are expected to rise 38 percent and 47 percent, respectively. The hikes, coupled with expected cuts to food subsidies, resulted in a nationwide transit strike, leaving streets largely deserted.

According to NBC News, volunteer groups from South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Alabama are stuck in the country while a doctor from North Carolina reported to his family that he and his son arrived at the airport but were unable to leave.

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