Global Rescue security teams have evacuated two journalists from the violence in Cap Haitien, Haiti, after rioting in the area, stemming from a cholera epidemic, left two people dead, more than a dozen injured and the airport closed to commercial traffic.
The freelance writers, who had also been volunteering with Haitian children in the area, said they could hear gunfire in the distance from their position and noted that the roads leading in and out of downtown from their host family’s home had been barricaded.
Their employer alerted Global Rescue about the situation, and the company’s security teams were put on stand-by. When the employer received reports that the United Nations could be preparing a statement saying it was responsible for the cholera outbreak, and further violence was anticipated, Global Rescue teams received the green light to evacuate.
The most successful security evacuations are those that are smooth and executed without dramatic maneuvers or complications. These can only be carried out after detailed planning. As soon as Global Rescue crisis response teams received the initial call, they constructed contingency plans involving air, ground and maritime assets in coordination with local contacts. Options included a ground convoy under the cover of darkness, and a power boat rescue from a landing near Cap Haitien.
In the end, the security specialists were able to carry out the quickest solution: an airlift from the closed airport after they secured an extraordinary permit. The clients were escorted to the tarmac, met by a Global Rescue team led by a former Navy SEAL, and flown to Santo Domingo where they boarded a flight to the United States.