Members of a Delaware church on a mission trip are among the hundreds of Americans stranded in Haiti amid violent protests over rising gas prices.
Pastor Roger Frederick of Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Bear, Delaware and a group of 15 children and four adults traveled to Haiti for a week-long service mission.
During their stay, Haiti’s government announced an increase in gasoline prices in which a liter of regular gas would cost nearly $5. The announcement sparked violent protests as people reportedly burned tires and vandalized businesses in Haiti’s capital. At least three people were killed.
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Police also say the bodies of four people were found Sunday in the streets of the Delmas district, though they didn’t say if their deaths were related to the protests.
With the situation still chaotic, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince on Sunday warned U.S. citizens to shelter in place.
“They were burning tires in the streets and they couldn’t travel safely,” Pastor Paul Owens of Cornerstone United Methodist Church, said. “I guess the embassy said stay in place, be safe where you’re at. Don’t try to go out.”
Passengers traveling to and from Haiti from the United States are on standby, as some airlines have canceled flights due to the violence. Pastor Roger’s group is currently hunkered down in a compound.
“Everybody is doing well,” Pastor Roger said. “We are taking care of each other.”
While the group remains in good spirits, their loved ones back home are nervous and anxious for them to return. Pastor Roger’s wife Carolyn Frederick hopes her husband and the entire group will be back by Wednesday.
“They understand the situation,” she said. “They know God is in control, he’s got this and that they trust they’re going to see their families.”