Haiti: US nurse and child kidnapped, says charity

Mrs Dorsainvil
Image caption, Mrs. Dorsainvil is originally from the US state of New Hampshire

By Alex Smith

BBC News

An American nurse and her child have been kidnapped in Haiti, according to a Christian aid charity she worked for.

Alix Dorsainvil was working in a community ministry near Port-au-Prince when she was taken, El Roi Haiti said in a statement.

Haiti: US nurse and child kidnapped, says charity

The US state department said it was in “regular contact” with Haitian authorities.

Officials in Haiti have appealed to the international community to help break the grip of armed gangs on the country.

Mrs. Dorsainvil is the wife of El Roi Haiti’s director and founder, Sandro Dorsainvil.

The age and gender of the child are not known.

“Alix is a deeply compassionate and loving person who considers Haiti her home and the Haitian people her friends and family,” the statement from El Roi Haiti added.

The charity also said it was working to secure the pair’s safe return.

Haiti: US nurse and child kidnapped, says charity

The organization has asked people to “refrain from speculating on social media about this situation to protect Alix and her child during this time”.

Mrs. Dorsainvil is originally from the state of New Hampshire, according to the charity’s website.

“Haitians are such resilient people. They’re full of joy and life and love,” she said in a video posted by the organization in which she described her work there.

“I’m so blessed to be able to know so many amazing Haitians.”

Mr. Dorsainvil grew up in poverty in Port-au-Prince, according to the charity. In 2014 he graduated from a high school in the US state of Montana.

Man carrying his belongings outside the US embassy
Image caption, The US government has ordered all non-emergency staff to leave the island

An alumni newsletter from the school says the couple married in Haiti in January 2021 and adopted one boy there while raising two girls.

The US state department ordered all non-emergency government personnel and their family members to leave Haiti just hours after the kidnapping.

Haiti: US nurse and child kidnapped, says charity

The order to leave came days after the US issued a level-four “do not travel” advisory because of kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and “poor healthcare infrastructure” on the island.

Project Dynamo, a US veteran-led non-profit that evacuates American civilians from risky situations abroad, has said it will go to Haiti to evacuate Americans.

The poorest country in the Americas has been in a political crisis since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021.

Gangs control around 80% of the capital, and violent crimes such as kidnappings and armed robbery are common.

Haiti: US nurse and child kidnapped, says charity

From January to June this year, there have been 1,014 kidnappings in Haiti, according to the UN.

Earlier this month, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, called for the creation of a multinational force for Haiti.

Kenya has volunteered to take the lead, offering 1,000 police officers to help train local law enforcement.

Any mission will be subject to a mandate from the UN Security Council, and formal authorization from the Kenyan authorities.

Kenya’s Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua said any potential multinational force’s job would be to stabilize the situation on the ground and empower local authorities, as the people of Haiti have “suffered enough”.

Speaking to the BBC’s Newshour program on Sunday, he added Kenya’s main aim would be to train Haitian police to help reduce violence and allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians being “held hostage by gangs”.

“We have decided to lead this process because we don’t want to wait for others,” Mr. Mutua said.

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