Bay Area residents concerned about relatives in Haiti

January 13, 2010 7:29:43 PM PST
In the Bay Area, many families with loved ones in Haiti are suffering through a variety of emotions. They have been trying since yesterday to reach their family members, but often they cannot get through.

Members of the Haitian Seventh Day Adventist Church in Novato prayed Wednesday for those they left behind on the island.

"We're just asking from God help, help, because you know it's hard, we're watching you see, it's not good," church member Linda Felix said.

Most of Felix's family lives in Haiti. It has been 24 hours since she and others have communicated with them.

Wednesday, they gathered in one room, as a community, to try to reach their families.

"Until now we can't reach anybody, so we don't know exactly what happened and in Port-au-Prince a lot of people died," Pastor Edner Eloi said.

In Oakland, the Rev. Fritzner Galiothe and his wife also have much to worry about. The Equator Faith Mission supports several schools and churches in Haiti.

"Me and my wife slept only two hours last night; we go to bed at one and I woke up at 3 o'clock and could not go to sleep anymore, we just tried to find out what's happening, try to get in touch, making phone calls," he said.

One of the schools is located near the epicenter of the quake. It survived, as well as the health clinic. But the orphanage with 38 children did not.

"A few minutes ago someone called me to say the children they are all right, the people inside are all right but the house, the orphanage, it's gone, completely gone," Galiothe said.

Both religious leaders say what Haiti needs now is food, water and medical supplies.

"We have wound care, surgical care, syringes, we have crutches, we have wheelchairs," Volunteers for Inter-American Development (VIDA) board member Adam See said.

The Emeryville-based non-profit is ready to ship supplies to Haiti, but so far it has been impossible to coordinate efforts with the Haitian government. VIDA says once they get the green light from the Haitian government or military, they can airlift the supplies and have it there in a week.