Canada has chartered helicopters to evacuate its nationals from Haiti as commercial air links to Port-au-Prince have been cut, the Canadian government announced Monday.

However, the first flights scheduled for the day to the neighboring Dominican Republic were ultimately unable to proceed, contrary to what was previously announced.

“Due to the unpredictable weather conditions, departures (…) have been postponed and will take place as soon as the weather permits,” Canadian diplomacy clarified in the evening. Canadian citizens who are about to leave the country on those flights are being provided with temporary housing “with all security,” he added.

Haiti, already experiencing a deep political and security crisis, has been faced with a dramatic escalation of violence since early March, when gangs joined forces and began launching raids on strategic locations in the capital. The capital’s main port has suspended operations and the airport has been closed until further notice.

As of this stage, 30 Canadians have requested their government’s assistance to urgently leave the Caribbean nation, out of a total of approximately 3,000 Canadian nationals in the country.

“There is no way to escape from Port-au-Prince without putting families at risk,” explained Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie.

“In these circumstances, it is important to be able to get the Canadians to a safe location” and “the Dominican Republic is the fastest route for expedited removal.”

Canadian authorities will initially facilitate the transfer to the neighboring state of the country’s most vulnerable nationals, especially those who need medical treatment or have children, Ms. Jolie explained.

Hasty removals of foreign nationals are on the rise as the political future of the western hemisphere’s poorest state is uncertain and gangs are spreading their grip on the capital and beyond.

Gang violence has claimed thousands of lives and forced hundreds of thousands more to flee their homes.

The US began evacuating its nationals from Haiti last week, using a chartered helicopter. The State Department announced that it planned to make three more flights yesterday Monday and four today.

Washington has facilitated the safe transfer of more than 340 US citizens out of Haiti since March 17 and is exploring alternative solutions to expedite the removal of others, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

The start of Haiti’s political transition process has been delayed by differences between the personalities expected to make up the future so-called presidential council, two weeks after de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henri announced his resignation.

In anticipation, the gangs spread, especially in the capital, which they already controlled by 80%.

In just two weeks, after gang violence escalated, more than 33,000 residents of the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area have fled their homes, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).