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Oakland County Mission Group Stuck In Haiti Amid Civil Unrest

On top of the civil unrest, a tropical storm is moving in

July 07, 2018 - 11:56 pm

HAITI (WWJ) -- A group from Oakland County is trapped in Haiti as protests erupt amid political unrest.

The unrest follows Prime Minister Jack Lafontant said the country needed to raise fuel prices to balance the budget and gave no indication he would back down. 

He has since announced the suspension "until further notice" of the price hike that began protests, which have left one dead.

Supervisor of Orion Township, Chris Barnett, is stuck in the country with a group of 44 people on a mission trip. He spoke live on WWJ, saying they heard of the protests on Friday and were supposed to leave Saturday but have been able to as violent protests rage on.

“Our message to everyone at home is we’re safe, we’re on a compound just about 45 minutes out of Port Au Prince," Barnett said. "But we’re trying to get there to fly out. We’ve been working with the State Department, the US Embassy. They’ve been extremely helpful, but there’s just not a lot of information because this is like a third world country and people are out protesting. From where we’re at, we can see and smell the fires.”

The group was hoping to be able to reach Port Au Prince to fly out on Sunday, but with a tropical storm rolling in, he says they have been told that won't happen.

Barnett says the group has been in Haiti since last Saturday working with the locals.

“Amazing place, amazing people," he said.

Stay tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 for the latest updates from Barnett as this story develops.