Local Haitian community gathers to plea for help

January 15, 2010 7:13:12 PM PST
In San Francisco, members of the Haitian community pleaded for help, saying their friends and family are becoming more desperate with each passing hour.

They are indeed stories that break your heart. They pleaded for help, saying whether or not we have any direct connection with Haiti, as human beings we all have to do something.

On Friday, there were hugs of sorrow for Ifonia Gelin. She finally reached her dad by phone.

"I know that my little brother died and that my dad is lost. You know, homeless," said Gelin.

Sherley Bellot also got sad news about a close family friend.

"This woman was taking care of a whole bunch of kids and the home was destroyed, just devastated, just destroyed. Ten children passed away," said Bellot.

Jim Thelusma received better news after finding out that his wife and daughter survived.

"She got hit by a brick, but her mom says her arm is OK, but she doesn't want to tell me the gravity of her situation just because maybe she doesn't want to scare me," said Thelusma.

For Bellot, Gelin and other proud Haitian Americans, the earthquake ravaged not only their beloved motherland, but their hearts.

"We have been sitting on the edge of tears as watch the world we once knew in Port-au-Prince disappear," said Fredy Dorsainvil.

Members of the local Haitian-American community and relief agencies gathered on Friday with Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, to plead for help -- any help at all.

Community leader Pierre Labossiere, from the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, talked about his friend whose home is still standing.

"They transformed their house into a hospital where actually about 150 people were being treated and so this is what people are doing," said Labossiere.

Those here spoke specifically about the need to help the children. Many are now orphaned.

"In a place like Port-au-Prince, 40 percent of the population are children," said Bob McLalan from Direct Relief International.

"They are our future of Haiti. So with no education, with no help, there's no Haiti," said Gelin.

Those at the gathering said there will be a vigil at the Federal Building in Oakland Monday evening at 5. That vigil is to mourn the dead and to pray for the living.