Canada withdrawing nonessential embassy staff from Haiti

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Canada is temporarily withdrawing nonessential staff from its embassy in Haiti. The move comes in response to a spike in gang-related violence in Haiti and a severe lack of fuel that has affected hospitals, schools and banks.

Global Affairs Canada says the embassy in Port-au-Prince remains open, but all Canadians should avoid nonessential travel to the country.

"As a long-standing friend of the people of Haiti, Canada remains deeply committed to helping Haiti achieve a more democratic, secure and prosperous future. Canada will always step up to assist the Haitian people, as we have done in the past," a Global Affairs Canada statement read.

The fuel shortage has threatened basic services across much of Haiti, which is still recovering from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in July. The country has also suffered a wave of kidnappings.

U.S. and Haitian authorities trying to secure the release of 17 members of a missionary group abducted last month.