The U.S. is no longer advising citizens to avoid any and all travel to Haiti, but the State Department still hasn't given the island country a green light. This new advisory comes at a time when Haiti is in desperate need of tourist dollars to help restart its economy.
On Monday, the U.S. softened a travel warning issued in January that "strongly urged" U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Haiti, citing election-related violence and rioting. The latest warning now suggests that U.S. citizens "consider carefully all travel to Haiti."
Now that new President Michel Martelly is in office, a new drive is in the works to start rebuilding the demolished country.
Americans traveling to or living in Haiti are cautioned to be aware of a complex of problems still plaguing the country in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake. An almost nonexistent infrastructure coupled with poor security has led to continued government corruption and public violence as well as medical risks.
Among the dangers mentioned by the State Department in the updated advisory is a "renewed cholera outbreak."
This new wave of cholera has affected 409,000 people and killed more than 5,800 since October, according to the Health Ministry.
The waterborne virus spread during the rainy season this summer and officials expect the number of infected to rise during the current hurricane season.
The U.S. is advising travelers to visit only as part of a supported, recognized organization "with solid infrastructure, evacuation options, and medical support systems in place" in case of emergencies.
The advisory continued:
"No one is safe from kidnapping, regardless of occupation, nationality, race, gender, or age. In a number of cases this past year, travelers arriving in Port-au-Prince on flights from the U.S. were attacked and robbed shortly after departing the airport."
The State Department cites cases when travelers with a reputable organization and suffered disease, danger, violent crime and even kidnapping, adding that some kidnapping victims have been "physically abused, sexually assaulted, shot, and even killed."
If you're planning to travel to Haiti during the recent cholera outbreak, contact the CDC for proper precautions to take to avoid contracting the disease and for other tips and advice to read before visiting.