Haiti Country Report
President Jovenel Moïse assumed office in February 2017 following a repeat of the presidential elections in November 2016. He replaced a transitional government after former president Michel Martelly left office with no elected successor following annulled elections in late 2015, closing a cycle of political instability. Several opposition parties challenge the legitimacy of the government, as they contested the election results, and are likely to undermine the government, despite Moïse having majority in the legislature. There is a risk of violent protests in 2018, mainly targeting state security forces, government, and political party assets, particularly over economic measures affecting people's purchasing power. The government launched a new small army in late 2017.
Haiti lacks basic conditions for investment. Infrastructure lags behind regional standards, including in transport, communications, and energy. Natural disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake and the 2016 Hurricane Matthew have caused significant infrastructural damage, including in Port-au-Prince and the south of the country. The Presidential Palace, ministries and the UN headquarters were destroyed, and roads were rendered useless. More than 1 million houses were wiped out and thousands continue living in tents. Reconstruction is ongoing in 2018. Corruption is extremely high; bribes and "extra contributions" at all stages of the administrative process are being demanded. The country is dependent on foreign aid.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all individuals traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Yellow Fever: A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - chloroquine (sometimes marketed as Nivaquine).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Besides the significant threat of earthquakes (see INTRODUCTION), travelers should also note that the rainy seasons last from April to June and from August to October, and hurricane season lasts from June to November. During these periods, potentially deadly floods and landslides cause significant destruction throughout the country, including in the capital. Due to poor infrastructure, cities and towns throughout Haiti are highly vulnerable to floods and emergency response efforts are often insufficient.
Some 500 people were killed during the passage of Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 hurricane that made landfall in the west of the country on October 4, 2016. The storm caused major infrastructural damages in the southwestern departments of Sud, Grand'Anse, and Nippes, and destroyed or damaged some 120,000 homes. Widespread crop destruction (risk of famine), a lack of clean drinking water, a sharp rise in consumer prices, and a devastated economy have increased sociopolitical tensions.
Regarding air travel, the state is unable to guarantee the safety and maintenance of aircraft. No Haitian carriers are on the list of airlines banned from flying in European Union (EU) airspace, commonly referred to as the EU blacklist. However, all are banned from flying to or from the United Kingdom or its oversea territories.
Road conditions are often dangerous due to unsafe driving habits, poorly maintained roads, and the presence of armed criminal groups. As such, is it advisable to only travel during daylight hours whenever possible and to always drive with doors locked and windows rolled up. Highways in parts of the country can be isolated, with limited access to gas stations and inconsistent cell phone reception.
Never attempt to cross roadblocks, which are sometimes erected by criminal groups (e.g. on the RN2 highway near Petit-Goâve) or protesters. Instead, turn around and find another route.
Bridges and roads, particularly secondary and tertiary roads, are often damaged or left flooded for long periods of time following heavy rains due to poor drainage.
If traveling to the Dominican Republic by car, be aware there are only four border crossings and as such long waiting times are common. Furthermore, land access to the neighboring country is often hindered by roadblocks and border closings as tensions between the two countries generally run high. Caribe Tours offers a safe and comfortable bus service between Pétionville (capital region) and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The use of taxis - particularly motorcycle taxis ("moto-taxis") and unlicensed taxis ("taxis marrons") - is advised against.
Mobile telephones are widely used. Signal reception varies but is generally good in and around Port-au-Prince. Local SIM cards and prepaid cards are available for purchase in cities and larger towns.
Haiti has a tropical climate with temperatures relatively stable throughout the year (23°C to 32°C, cooler in mountainous regions). The rainy season lasts from May until June and hurricanes can strike between July and October. Rain is common on reliefs exposed to northeasterly winds. The months of December and January are dry.
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