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An American nurse and her child have been kidnapped in Haiti, organization says

The State Department said it’s aware of the kidnapping report. On Thursday, it advised nonemergency personnel and their families in Haiti to leave amid crime and unrest.
/ Source: NBC News

A nurse and her child, both Americans, have been kidnapped amid crime and unrest in Haiti’s capital, a nonprofit connected to the woman said Saturday.

The group, El Roi Haiti, said in a statement that Alix Dorsainvil, a community health nurse married to its founder and director, Sandro Dorsainvil, and the pair’s child, were kidnapped Thursday morning from its location near Port-au-Prince.

The organization said the two were taken “while serving in our community ministry.”

Image:
People displaced from their homes in the Tabare neighborhood rest outside the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, July 25.Odelyn Joseph / AP

The State Department said Saturday it’s aware of reports of the kidnapping, is in contact with Haitian authorities, “and will continue to work with them and our U.S. government interagency partners.”

“The U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” the department said in a statement.

The kidnappings took place the same day the State Department ordered nonemergency U.S. government employees and families to leave Haiti “due to kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor health care infrastructure.”

Gangs have taken over a vast majority of Port au Prince’s street geography, making crime and chaos rampant and prompting more than 165,00 Haitians to abandon their homeland, according to a United Nations report last month.

“Gang attacks, extrajudicial killings, kidnappings and gender-based violence have become part of the daily lives of Haitians, forcing locals to flee their homes,” the U.N. said in June.

Some Haitians seeking safety and order have camped out next to the U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince.

The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021 precipitated the chaos, as the nation’s government never recovered from the shock to its leadership.

Haiti has also been ravaged this century by two devastating earthquakes — including one shortly after Moïse’s assassination — and has struggled with political chaos, violence and poverty. 

El Roi Haiti, a Christian organization, said it would keep pressing for the return of Alix Dorsainvil and her child.

“We continue to work with our partners and trusted relationships to secure their safe return,” it said.

The organization described Dorsainvil as “deeply compassionate” and a “loving person who considers Haiti her home and the Haitian people her friends and family.”

In an El Roi Haiti video posted to Vimeo roughly three years ago, Alix Dorsainvil says she’s a nurse from New Hampshire invited by Sandro Dorsainvil to care for school children in Haiti.

“He said that was a big need that they had,” she said in the video. “At first I didn’t think that there was going to be much of a need there. But when I got there there were so many cases.”

Sandro Dorsainvil grew up in a rough neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, according to his El Roi Haiti bio. He attended a Christian high school in the United States before pursuing undergraduate studies at Liberty University in Virginia, it said.

He ultimately returned to his homeland and founded the nonprofit with the idea faith can help revive the country. 

This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com.