Nadine Alphonse’s relatives survive Haiti Earthquake

January 26, 2010

MONTREAL – An aunt who is part of a volunteer United Nations missionary team has kept Canadian national team member Nadine Alphonse of Montreal and her family updated on conditions of their relatives in disaster-stricken Haiti.  Incredibly, all are alive but they are homeless.

On January 12, Alphonse, who is enjoying a great season with the undefeated Universite de Montreal Carabins, learned along with the rest of the world of  the massive earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation which is the birthplace of her parents and still the home of numerous relatives.

“The first three days following the earthquake were horrible for us,” said Alphonse, 26, who was born in Montreal.  Her parents moved to Canada from Haiti in the 1970’s.  “There was no communication, no news.  We have a lot of family that reside in Port-au-Prince where much of the damage occurred.  It wasn’t an easy situation at home and we were worried for our family and for the Haitian population that was suffering.”

Alphonse has two aunts that live in the U.S., and one of them works as a U.N. Missionary.  She was able to travel to Haiti less than a week after the disaster.  Miraculously she discovered that Alphonse’s relatives were O.K.

“My grandmother, uncles, aunts, cousins are alive but they are on the streets,” Alphonse said.  “My grandmother is in a makeshift outdoor hospital operated by the Red Cross.  She was unresponsive for five days and they thought she wouldn’t make it.  But a U.N. doctor recently called us to say she was going to survive.”

Alphonse’s grandmother overcame great odds to survive the quake.

“Her house was right in front of an elementary school which collapsed.  She lied on the ground in front of that school where many children perished.  It’s incredible she survived, her whole neighborhood was flattened.”

It’s an uncle who found the grandmother in the rubble and he suffered a broken arm and leg.

Alphonse still hasn’t talked directly by phone or contacted via the internet any of her family members in Haiti but is provided regular updates from her aunt with the U.N.

However Alphonse plans to travel to Haiti with her parents in April.

“We are overwhelmed by the Canadian and worldwide support to help the people in Haiti,” said Alphonse.  “This sort of outpouring can only help bring peace to the world.  It’s wonderful to see how so many countries are providing immediate help on-site. It gives us a lot of hope.

“But there’s so much work to do.  We ask everyone to give what they can.”

Volleyball Canada will be making a contribution to the cause in Haiti and we encourage the volleyball community in Canada to do the same.  The FIVB and NORCECA have also joined forces to raise funds, food and medicine.  More information at: www.norceca.org 

Here are some links to well known relief organizations.  Please give:

World Vision Canada: www.worldvision.ca   

Red Cross Canada: www.redcross.ca

UNICEF: www.unicef.ca