While waiting for word on loved ones, Sudbury’s Haitian community comes together to support earthquake victims.

Sudbury's Haitian
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People in northern Ontario are waiting in agony for news of relatives and loved ones in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, with some taking action to aid. Since the weekend’s 7.2 magnitude quake, which killed over 1,200 people, some Canadians have already made touch, but not always with good news. Tropical Storm Grace is hampering rescue attempts.

Bernadine Pierre Louis, a Sudbury nurse from Arniquet, Haiti, has discovered that at least two family members, a cousin and his pregnant wife, were killed in the earthquake. According to Pierre Louis, family members believe the couple was asleep when the earthquake struck. Another cousin dashed outdoors with her children.

“We believed she perished, too, because we had tried to call her for two days,” Pierre Louis explained. “However, she forgot to take her phone with her when she departed.” She is now outside the house because there is no longer a house there, therefore she is alone with two children.

“What they told me is that they are in need of food, water, and tents,” she added. That’s exactly what they require right now.” According to Robbie Joseph, owner of Sudbury’s Cuisine Tropicale, the situation is serious, particularly in remote towns that may lack adequate medical equipment.

When word of the accident spread through the media, Joseph, who is also the president of the Sudbury Haitian Association, said he instantly gathered the community to see what they could offer. It was a challenging endeavor made harder by difficulties in communicating with people on the island, he said.

On Saturday, the community gathered at Joseph’s eatery. Their first objective was to build a supply route to transfer commodities and supplies to people in the devastated country. The teams are also attempting to establish direct contact with the victims, who are families who have lost their houses and are now seeking shelter from monsoon conditions.

“What we do know is that the majority of the houses were utterly destroyed. Those individuals are truly alive; they are sleeping, or not sleeping since there is no shelter, no nothing.” Joseph, who has previously participated in rescue and support activities for Haiti, stated that the group’s primary goal is to raise funds for those in need.