Group urges government to help get thousands of Haitians out of Turkey

February 07, 2023
Haitian nationals stranded in Turkey where an earthquake on Monday killed thousands of people (Photo credit FOLONHA)

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Feb 7, CMC – The non-profit organisation, Lorquet Foundation for a New Haiti (FOLONHA), is urging the Haitian authorities to facilitate the repatriation of more than 5,000 Haitians stranded in Turkey where an earthquake on Monday killed and injured thousands of people.

“Indeed, many of our compatriots continue to make known their desire to return home in the face of the situation they are facing in Turkey. However, the slowness of the administrative machine of the Haitian government and the budgetary constraints mentioned, prevent them from concretising their wish,” FOLONHA said in a statement.

FOLONHA, which was formed after the deadly January 12, 2010 earthquake that killed thousands of Haitians here, said the Haitian nationals in Turkey, for the most part, are subject to difficulties of all kinds, especially in this winter period, especially since “they cannot go out in the streets in the face of the behaviour of the police officers and those of Turkish immigration.

“Unable to go anywhere, these compatriots, whose number is estimated at least 5,000, are forced against their will to stay in Turkey to face an indescribable situation, including unemployment, malnutrition, cold, racism, etc.”

The Lorquet Foundation said it hopes that this appeal would be “taken into consideration immediately by the Haitian authorities in order to allow our compatriots to return home.

“FOLONHA hopes that this SOS will be heard by the authorities concerned, in particular the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Religious Affairs (MAEC), the Ministry of Haitians Living Abroad (MHAVE), and that they will work urgently with the ‘ International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and the National Observatory of Migration (ONM), in order to rescue these illegal Haitians stuck in Turkey”.

The organisation also extended its “sincere condolences to the parents of the victims of the earthquake” which had a magnitude 7.8.

More than 5,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured after a magnitude the earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, according to officials.

They said thousands of buildings collapsed in both countries and aid agencies are particularly worried about northwestern Syria, where more than four million people were already relying on humanitarian assistance.

The quake, one of the strongest to hit the region in more than 100 years.

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