Aid efforts in Haiti are struggling after the kidnapping of an American nurse and her young daughter, with some fearing this discourages service providers from operating in lawless areas.
Driving the news: Alix Dorsainvil, a nurse from New Hampshire, and her daughter were kidnapped late last week in the capital, Port-au-Prince, with a ransom of $1 million demanded.
* Dorsainvil was working at a small clinic run by Christian organization El Roi Haiti, providing medical care, education, and basic services.
* The impact of this incident is expected to be chilling for smaller aid groups working in the country, according to Renata Segura, International Crisis Group’s deputy director for Latin America and Caribbean.
Grim context: Gang violence and kidnappings have escalated in Haiti since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
* A local nonprofit has recorded 539 kidnappings since the start of the year, likely an underestimate due to fear of authorities.
* Many service providers including hospitals and aid organizations have been targeted by criminals, leading to closures and leaving countless Haitians without access to essentials like healthcare and food.
Off the record: Locals fear the closures may become permanent, speaking concerns of a rise in death rates due to a lack of medical and other services.
* Doctors Without Borders suspended services in one hospital after armed men burst into an operating room and kidnapped a patient.
* The United Nations said in February that violence had “severely hampered” access to health services.
What they’re saying: Alix Dorsainvil and her daughter’s whereabouts remain unknown, with the Haitian authorities and the State Department not offering much detail.
* In a statement, Department spokesman Matthew Miller stated “the safety and security of American citizens overseas is our highest priority. We are in regular contact with the Haitian authorities.”
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