Assistance to Haitians hindered by abduction of US nurse and daughter

by Lucas Garcia
Haiti Kidnapping

The crisis relief efforts for the Haitians battling the ongoing gang violence in their country has faced a fresh setback following the abduction of an American nurse and her young daughter from New Hampshire, who were yet to be found as of Tuesday.

The climate of violence in Haiti has escalated since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, which aggravated the criminal domination of the country. It’s now commonplace for innocents to be murdered, sexually assaulted, and kidnapped for ransom. A local nonprofit has recorded 539 kidnappings since the start of the year, marking a significant escalation from prior years.

The actual number of kidnappings is likely higher in Haiti, where widespread fear of both authorities and gangs exists. Institutions such as hospitals and aid agencies, often the only stable presence in many lawless regions, are increasingly targeted by criminals. This has forced many providers to shut down, leaving an increasing population of this 11.45 million strong country without access to essential services like healthcare, food, and education.

The concern among Haitians, aid workers, and external observers is that the kidnapping of Alix Dorsainvil and her daughter, both natives of New Hampshire, may further transform the country into a region inaccessible to anyone except gangs and the victims they oppress. Dorsainvil’s organization, El Roi Haiti, a Christian charity, offers medical services, education, and other basic aid. The organization released a cheerful photo of Dorsainvil with her husband but didn’t provide any additional details about the mother and their daughter.

Dorsainvil was offering medical aid at El Roi Haiti’s small clinic in a gang-controlled neighborhood of the capital, Port-au-Prince, last week when armed individuals stormed in and took her captive, according to eyewitnesses reported by The Big Big News. The kidnappers are demanding a ransom of $1 million, a common tactic used by the gangs to fund their activities.

Renata Segura, the deputy director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Crisis Group, stated that the kidnapping would undoubtedly have a daunting impact on the work smaller aid groups do in the country. Smaller grassroots organizations like Dorsainvil’s are particularly vulnerable, Segura noted, as they have limited resources to tackle the violence.

Just last month, Doctors Without Borders announced the suspension of services in one of its hospitals after about 20 armed individuals intruded an operating room and abducted a patient. Mahaman Bachard Iro, the head of programs in Haiti for the organization, expressed despair over the situation, questioning how they could continue to provide care amidst such violence.

Residents of Tabarre, a neighborhood adjoining the hospital, speculated on Tuesday about the possibility of temporary aid group closures becoming permanent. Without access to basic services, the locals can’t afford private hospitals, resulting in many arriving at hospitals in critical condition due to the absence of medical care.

Segura stated that the decline in the number of women giving birth in hospitals could increase infant and maternal mortality. Meanwhile, gangs are attempting to present themselves as benefactors by providing aid to the communities they terrorize.

Attempts to restore order in Haiti have been made by the international community, with Kenya’s Foreign Ministry offering 1,000 police officers to train and support the Haitian National Police in an effort to regain normalcy.

Details on the efforts to locate and rescue Dorsainvil and her daughter were not disclosed by State Department spokesman Matthew Miller or the Haitian authorities. Alix Dorsainvil’s organization, El Roi Haiti, called for prayers for the protection and freedom of Alix and her daughter, and for the relief from the daily sufferings of the Haitian people.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Haiti Kidnapping

Who were the individuals kidnapped in Haiti?

The individuals kidnapped in Haiti were an American nurse named Alix Dorsainvil and her young daughter, both natives of New Hampshire.

What has been the impact of this kidnapping?

The kidnapping has further hindered aid efforts in a country already ravaged by gang violence and lawlessness. It has caused fear and uncertainty, potentially deterring other aid workers from providing necessary services.

What kind of organization does Alix Dorsainvil work for?

Alix Dorsainvil works for El Roi Haiti, a Christian charity organization that provides medical care, education, and other basic services to the people of Haiti.

How has the situation in Haiti been since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021?

The situation in Haiti has worsened since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021, with an escalation in gang violence and criminal control. Innocent civilians are regularly murdered, sexually assaulted, and kidnapped for ransom.

How has the violence affected healthcare provision in Haiti?

The violence has had a profound impact on healthcare provision. Many hospitals and aid agencies, often the only stable institutions in the lawless regions of the country, have been forced to shut down due to the threat of violence, leaving a growing population without access to essential healthcare.

What has been the international community’s response to the disorder in Haiti?

The international community has made attempts to restore order in Haiti, with some successes. Recently, Kenya’s Foreign Ministry offered to send 1,000 police officers to assist the Haitian National Police and help restore normalcy.

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MarkT August 2, 2023 - 6:19 am

When will the intl community step up?! Haiti needs help now more than ever… and sending 1000 police officers isnt enough. we need to tackle the root cause.

NicoleH August 2, 2023 - 6:22 am

Such a scary situation! Makes you realise how lucky we are… My prayers go out to Alix and her daughter and all of Haiti. Hoping for better days ahead!

SarahM August 2, 2023 - 12:14 pm

Oh god, that’s so terrifying! Feel sorry for the woman and her kid… they were just tryin to help. This world can be so cruel sometimes. Stay safe everyone, its a crazy world out there.

LizzyG August 2, 2023 - 4:29 pm

it’s heartbreakin to hear such news. All she was doing was trying to make a difference. we need more ppl like Alix in this world, not less! Praying for their safe return.

JamesM August 3, 2023 - 2:40 am

what’s happening in Haiti is a real tragedy. Innocent ppl being targeted… it’s just not right. Kidnapping a nurse and her daughter, how much lower can these gangs get!


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