Haitian Americans in CT worry about relatives in their homeland - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Haitian Americans in CT worry about relatives in their homeland

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As Hurricane Matthew hits the Caribbean, many Haitian Americans in Connecticut told Eyewitness News that they were thinking of their homeland.

Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti on Tuesday. Winds were whipping at more than 130 miles per hour and a pounding rain quickly flooded roads.

Haitian Americans in Connecticut told Eyewitness News that their country just can't handle another natural disaster.

"The country is just trying to recover from the earthquake from 2010,” Haitian-American Fanel Merville said. “We're not ready for a situation like this."

Merville is part of a sizable Haitian American community that now calls Connecticut home. But his family is originally from the southern part of the country, right where Matthew made landfall.

"From last night until this moment, I haven't heard from them,” Merville said. “Tried to call, tried to place several phone calls, but nothing." 

Merville said he's not the only one worrying. Angelucci Manigat is the publisher of the Haitian Voice, which is a monthly paper serving the Tri-State area.

"I have my mom living there, my brother, they all live in one of the most dangerous areas, the one at risk,” Manigat said.

Unlike the United States, Manigat said in Haiti, many of the emergency shelters are improvised. It could be someone who has a sturdier house, maybe a certain school.  

In fact, Manigat said he was just on the phone with a Haitian mayor on Monday. That mayor said he was worrying about keeping people safe.  

"His biggest concern was I'm going to shelter hundreds of people,” Manigat said. “But how am I going to feed them? That's a big concern."

For local attorney Reine Boyer, who makes yearly mission trips to Haiti, the other concern is how they'll rebuild long after Hurricane Matthew is gone.

"When people hear of Haiti, they think the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It might be true, but we have have a rich culture,” Boyer said. “It's the only country liberated by a slave rebellion.  We have a proud history, proud people, very spiritual people and I think our resilience is what kept us all these years."

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