EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 14, 2010

Local Haitians wait and worry


For local Haitians, the media is their main lifeline to their homeland, with almost all communication and electrical lines down. The images are horrific: such institutions as the nation's palace and Notre Dame d'Haiti cathedral in ruins; people among the estimated 3 million in need of aid reaching out for help; and bodies lining the streets, some of dead mothers with their lifeless children in their arms.

As difficult as those images are to see, local Haitians said they provide some hope that they may glimpse a family member walking by a camera, proof they are alive. Young Gael Hyppolite is among those watching.

Hyppolite came to Lawrence two years ago. He lives with an uncle and is a senior at the International Academy at Lawrence High. He's used all technology available to try and get through to his parents and brothers in Haiti.

"I keep positive," said Hyppolite. "I just pray that I get a call."

Arnelle Morales came to Lawrence in the 1970s and is praying, too.

"I can't look at the news anymore because I cry. I don't think I have any more tears. I feel the pain with the people of Haiti," said Morales, president of the Haitian Cultural Group.

She only has cousins left in Haiti and has been trying to get in touch with them.

Her country has suffered much. Most recently, Haiti was hit by four hurricanes and tropical storms in 30 days in the fall of 2008. Flooding and mudslides killed an estimated 800 people and devastated crops.

But Morales said the Haitian people have pulled themselves from the rubble before and they will pull through again.

"We have no choice but to overcome it," she said. "The whole world is standing by to help. This is the time we can become one truly child of God and help each other out."

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