A photo from Haiti

“When I saw the gun, I was so scared.”

Lormina Louima, a woman who witnessed the kidnapping of an American nurse and her daughter near Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Thursday.

Published on

aug 1, 2023

Background: On Thursday, an American nurse and her child were abducted near Haiti's capital city, Port-au-Prince. The nurse, Alix Dorsainvil, is from New Hampshire and works for a Christian nonprofit called El Roi Haiti. She is married to the organization's founder and director, and has lived in Haiti for several years. Also on Thursday, the United States Department of State updated their Level 4 Travel Advisory for Haiti, ordering family members of U.S. government employees and non-emergency government employees to evacuate, and advising U.S. citizens to depart the country as soon as possible due to "kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor health care infrastructure."

Why It Matters: Louima told The Associated Press that as she was waiting for a check up at the El Roi Haiti clinic, armed men came in and seized Dorsainvil. On Monday, around 200 people protested her abduction in Port-au-Prince; one of the signs held by a protestor read, "She is doing good work in the community, free her." Some community members said the men who kidnapped the nurse and her daughter asked for $1 million in ransom, with one community member saying, "The money they are asking for, we don't have it." Tuesday marks six days since Dorsainvil and her daughter were abducted, while further information about their current location and capture remains unclear.

On Tuesday, White House National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby told CNN, "We want to see her released, we want to see her back home with her family where she still belongs. But again, I think it's probably the most prudent thing for us to not talk publicly about these efforts in any great detail as the situation is still precarious. We're all very, very mindful of her case. And certainly mindful that she has a young child with her and we're doing everything we can to try to secure her release."

Context: Haiti continues to be impacted by political and economic instability. From January to June 2023, more than 1,000 people have been abducted in Haiti, according to the United Nations. The AP shares, "Nonprofit groups are often the only institutions in Haiti's lawless areas and the deepening violence has forced many to close, leaving thousands of vulnerable families without access to basic services like health care or education."

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