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Canadians stranded by Haitian protests relieved to be home

Canadians stranded by Haitian protests relieved to be home
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Helicopter evacuations began Saturday morning , transporting travellers from a resort hotel on the Caribbean countrys Cote des Arcadins to the airport in the capital, Port-au-Prince. The Air Transat flight transporting the stranded vacationers touched down at Montreals Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport around 9 p.m. Saturday.

The airline, which sold the tourists their vacation packages, previously resisted calls to transport the tourists to the airport, citing issues with both logistics and security.

Tourists and aid workers have been struggling to leave the country after demonstrators blocked major highways, protesting skyrocketing inflation and the government s failure to prosecute embezzlement from a multi-billion-dollar Venezuelan program that sent discounted oil to Haiti.

Other Canadians have been making efforts to leave the country, some organizing helicopters and others making harrowing road journeys.

Rachel Blaquiere, a registered nurse who had been providing aid at several health clinics in Haiti, also arrived home Friday after the convoy she was travelling in decided to brave the roadblocks.

There was times where I felt like we were going to have to turn back -- this isnt safe. I didnt know if we were going to make it through this, Blaquiere told CTV News Channel. It was just roadblock, after roadblock. You didnt know what you were going to encounter once you got around one corner.

Blaquiere said the normally four-hour journey to the airport took more than seven hours as the convoy maneuvered around the roadblocks.

While some roadblocks consisted of cement boulders and fires, she said they also encountered Haitians yelling and throwing things at vehicles.

But the experience wont stop the nurse, who had been in Haiti since Jan. 31, from returning to the country.

We would be cautious about what is happening politically in the country, but its not going to stop me from returning again, she said.

On Saturday, while they still can.

In a conference call from the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of top global defence and foreign policy officials, Freeland told media that her department is following developments in Haiti very closely.

Global Affairs has issues an avoid all travel advisory to the Caribbean country.

Rachel Blaquiere, a registered nurse who had been providing aid at several health clinics in Haiti, also arrived home Friday after the convoy she was travelling in decided to brave the roadblocks.
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