Tags: Haiti | quake | aid | Miami

Anxiety Grips South Florida's Haitian Community

Wednesday, 13 January 2010 10:19 AM

It did not take long for Jean-Robert LaFortune’s telephone to start ringing with calls from the anxious, the desperate, and the bewildered. “What have you heard?” people wanted to know. “What can we do?”

So vast is the scale of the disaster back in his birthplace of Port-au-Prince in Haiti that Mr. LaFortune, a prominent activist leader within Miami’s Haitian-American community, was at a loss to know what to recommend.

“Many people are calling loved ones on the island to learn their conditions, but have not been successful,” he said Tuesday night. “Not a single one that I know has established contact. There’s a lot of panic in Miami.”

With more than 350,000 Haitians living in Florida, the emotional shock waves from Tuesday’s earthquake have stretched far beyond Hispaniola’s own shores.

In Miami’s Little Haiti district – whose residents have mobilized aid to Haiti so many times before, following tropical storms, mudslides, hurricanes, and floods – the scale of the latest natural disaster brought despair and disbelief, said LaFortune, sending them scuttling to their churches to pray, or gathering around their televisions in shocked silence.

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Wednesday, 13 January 2010 10:19 AM
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