Haitian citizens were aboard a crowded, “unseen” vessel en route to the coast of Florida, the Coast Guard said.
The United States Coast Guard pulled 176 Haitians from an overloaded, unseen boat as it approached the coast of Florida, officials said late Monday, amid a sharp increase in Haitians fleeing the crisis-stricken Caribbean nation.
The rescue effort unfolded Monday, after U.S. border and naval officials spotted the 18-foot (60-foot) vessel about 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of the Bahamas, the Coast Guard said in a statement. statement.
“It’s extremely dangerous to navigate Florida Street in an unseen vessel, especially from the Florida Keys where the water is extra treacherous with schools and reefs,” said Chief James Kinney.
“Thanks to the rapid coordination between so many different agencies, no lives were lost during this ban.”
#Today it happened @USCG teams intercepted, assisted in rescuing 176 Haitians aboard a congested sailboat Mon., near Ocean Reef. 10 people were reportedly admitted to hospital. Sea Condition: 4-6 vt., 20 mph winds.
– USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) 11 January 2022
Crews worked with federal, state and local law enforcement officers to arrest the people, after providing personal propulsion devices to those on the boat, who did not have basic life-saving equipment or navigation lights, officials said.
Ten people were taken to hospital with symptoms of dehydration.
The rescue comes amid a marked increase in migration from Haiti, which was series of crises in recent months, including an increase in gang-linked violence and kidnappings in the aftermath of the July assassination President Jovenel Moise.
In August, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake which killed more than 2,000 people and destroyed homes in the southwest of the country.
The country also suffered from paralysis fuel shortages which began in October after a coalition of gangs blocked access to fuel terminals, forcing some businesses and hospitals to close partially or completely.
Meanwhile, Haiti’s Senate met again on Monday for the first time in a year with only a few lawmakers present.
The 30-member Senate currently counts only 10 legislators because the country has failed to hold legislative elections that were originally scheduled for October 2019. The vote was later postponed several times after Moise’s murder.
Of those 10 Senate members, only about seven turned up Monday.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry promised to hold general elections this year, but he did not provide a specific date – and leading Haitian civil societies criticized the pressure to hold elections while the country remains in the grip of widespread violence and instability.
U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that it has returned 557 Haitians over the past three months – sharply more than last fiscal year, when 1,527 Haitians were rescued by the end of the year.
The agency said 418 Haitians were rescued in 2020.
Repeat since 19Sep21 #Delrio: beyond numbers, #migrants figuring out where they are and what they can do. Jobs was requested # 1. Preferred next destination is 🇺🇸. Increasing boats and trips to #RepDom for new routes. Flights back to # Haiti continue. @IOMHaiti @UNmigration pic.twitter.com/HGFT8bD5BF
– Giuseppe Loprete (@g_loprete) 3 January 2022
In September, nearly 15,000 Haitians fell under an international bridge in southern Texas near the US-Mexico border, hoping to claim asylum in the US. But the Biden administration expel the vast majority of them.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations migration agency, the US suspended more than 12,000 Haitians between September 19 and December 31 of last year.
Last month, Mexico’s National Institute of Migration (INM) recorded a more than sevenfold increase in the number of Haitians claiming asylum in Mexico, from 5,935 claims for the entire 2020 to 47,494 between January and November 2021.