Un fails to evacuate staff from haiti
Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)
UN Tries, Fails to Evacuate Staff from Haiti
Thu Feb 26, 2004 09:43 AM ET
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations tried to evacuate nonessential staff and their families from strife-torn Haiti on Wednesday but was unable to do so because of barricades in the roads, the world body said on Thursday.
There are currently about 100 U.N. staff, not counting dependents, in the Caribbean nation battered by an armed rebellion. To protect their security, the United Nations would have no comment on whether it would try again to withdraw its staff, an official said.
Armed rebels who have overrun half of Haiti warned on Thursday of an imminent attack on the capital, Port-au-Prince, and told President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to leave his national palace immediately.
Barricades littered the garbage-strewn streets before an expected attack by the rebels. Schools were closed and shops shuttered as many residents stayed home. But foreigners and others crowded into the airport to flee, fearing flights to and from the country could soon be suspended.
A situation report issued by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said nonessential staff and their dependents were to have been evacuated on Wednesday.
"However, barricades blocking the access to the airport and main roads of the capital prevented evacuations from taking place as planned and several flights had to be canceled," it said.
The U.S., French, Canadian and British governments have all urged their nationals to leave Haiti, and U.S. Peace Corps volunteers have been evacuated.