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Anxiety grows for Toronto's Haitian community

Members of Toronto’s Haitian community are growing increasinglyconcerned as they await news on the fate of loved ones in theearth-quake-ravaged country.

Members of Toronto’s Haitian community are growing increasingly concerned as they await news on the fate of loved ones in the earth-quake-ravaged country.

Wagner Forgue hasn’t heard from any of his dozens of relatives since the quake struck Tuesday.
“I haven’t been able to contact anyone,” says the Haitian-born Torontonian, who returned from a visit to Haiti last week.

“Sometimes their phones just ring and ring. Sometimes the line’s dead.”

Forgue gathered Thursday with other Haitians at Lakay Caribbean Restaurant in Scarborough, which has become an informal gathering place for the GTA’s Haitian population, estimated at about 2,150 people.

Sitting across from Forgue was Esai Gedehomme, a look of concern on his face. Although nine of his relatives survived the quake, he hasn’t heard from his nephew.

But Gedehomme’s worry gives way to anger as he contemplates the troubles that plague his birthplace.

“I would like to see the international community step in and rebuild properly. The Haitian government is not workable. You give them money and they’ll waste it. Haitians need to be very, very careful of where they make donations,” he adds. “Donate money to one of the established organizations, not individuals saying they’re collecting.”

Forgue, and a man who goes by the name DJ Scarmix, agree.

“Will the money actually go to the people?” they wonder aloud.

As the three men discuss the appalling situation in their homeland, Gedehomme’s cellphone rings. He answers, and a smile comes over his face.

“It is my nephew,” he says.