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U.S. missionary among those evacuated from Haiti by a Florida congressman

WorldU.S. missionary among those evacuated from Haiti by a Florida congressman

A U.S. missionary who’s been traveling back and forth to Haiti for more than a dozen years helping run a school and an orphanage says it was “frightening” being trapped in the country for three weeks.

Miriam Cinotti in Haiti
Miriam Cinotti was stuck in a remote village in the south of Haiti for three weeks.Courtesy Miriam Cinotti

“It was scary,” Miriam Cinotti said, adding that the group was stuck in a remote village in the south of Haiti for three weeks and although they were safe, they were able to access help.

“We couldn’t get to where the help was coming to, we couldn’t get to Cap-Haitien, we couldn’t get to, you know, different places, even get on a government plane,” she said.

Cinotti detailed the challenging logistics of evacuating from a remote location, including difficulty accessing the internet and printing facilities. She said Project Dynamo, an organization that specializes in evacuation operations, and its help were crucial to her rescue.

The missionary, whose family runs a bakery in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, was among the 13 people evacuated from Haiti over the weekend with the help of U.S. Rep. Cory Mills. R-Fla. Amid escalating security concerns and the shutdown of Haiti’s primary airport, many foreigners have been stranded in the country.

“Our team successfully conducted another rescue of 13 Americans out of PAP Haiti,” Mills said Monday on X.

Cinotti said that she’s been traveling to Haiti for 14 years as part of her missionary work, and that she and her fellow missionaries have witnessed violence and unrest before, but she said that they are driven by the importance of the work they do.

“We’ve heard gunshots, we’d been there when roads were blocked,” she said, adding, “I’ve never felt scared enough not to go.”

The deteriorating security situation in Haiti, exacerbated by recent gang violence, has led to heightened concerns for the safety of native residents and foreigners in the country. The airport shutdown in Port-au-Prince has further complicated efforts.

Earlier this month, Mills was involved with rescuing 10 people from the Have Faith Orphanage in Haiti. Bestselling author and award-winning journalist Mitch Albom established the orphanage and was among those rescued. 

The author said Mills and Michigan Republican Rep. Lisa McClain helped the group, which included Americans and people from Canada and France. 

“I am back on American soil. Thank you to all have supported us during this difficult week. My wife and I are safe tonight,” Albom said last week on X.

The State Department has continued its efforts to repatriate American citizens from Haiti, with more than 30 individuals being repatriated Sunday on a government-chartered flight that landed in Miami. 

A contingent of U.S. Marines was deployed to Port-au-Prince on March 13 to safeguard the U.S. Embassy, which had largely evacuated nonessential personnel the previous year.

Despite the challenges and uncertainties, Cinotti remains hopeful and committed to supporting Haiti. 

“The people in Haiti still need the love, they need your funds to missions,” she emphasized. “We’re never going to forget Haiti, and I will forever keep putting them up there and lifting them up.”

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