Maritime health-care workers make risky escape from Haiti
Published Monday, February 18, 2019 9:37PM AST
One group of health care workers from the Maritimes has managed to get home from Haiti.
Riots have erupted in the country over widespread anger over inflation and fuel costs, as citizens call for the resignation of Haiti's prime minister and president.
“We could definitely see fire and a lot of smoke as we were coming in. There were groups of people as we were coming in. We're relieved to be at the airport. We all are. Still sad though to leave our friends behind,” said Aundrea Trevors of Nova Scotia.
She and many others were ferried from their compound to the airport by helicopter.
The nurses had a scheduled flight leaving Port-au-Prince this afternoon, but the trouble was getting there.
“We were surrounded and stopped,” said Cathy Davies, a Woodstock, N.B., ER nurse who was with the team. “And then, our driver just made the decision to step on the gas, but after they threw the rock and the bottles at us, our driver just made the decision, he had to try to get us out of there.”
Davies and her team were staying in Saint-Louis-de-Sud, but in order to get to Port au Prince where they could fly out to Canada, they needed to pass through Aquin,where riots continued to worsen.
The team were stopped at a number of blockades, each time they feared the worst.
“I was thinking, ‘I'm not going to get home to see my son graduate. To see my husband and my poor father has been worried sick about me,’” Davies said. “Adrenalin kicked in and we said, ‘we need to do whatever we can do to get home.’”
They ended up hiring a driver posing as an ambulance to get them to the airport.
This was Davies eighth trip to the country and she had another planned for Monday.
Those plans are postponed.
She says it breaks her heart for a country and a people - she's come to love.
“People say, why would they harm you? You're trying to help them,” Davies said. “But the people of Haiti are desperate right now, so maybe they're not going about it the right way but - at that point in time, I can safely say for all three of us that we really wondered if we were going to get home safely.”
She vows to return to the country at some point, but for now, is adhering to the federal government's travel advisory that is asking Canadians to avoid all travel to Haiti.
A lot of Maritimers have spent time volunteering in Haiti, but at this time, that travel advisory states that any Canadian still in Haiti needs to leave as soon as possible by “commercial means” while those means are still available.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.