Glued to their phones and televisions waiting for any piece of news, members of Calgary’s Haitian community are sleep deprived and unsure if their family members are alive.

The first cargo planes with food, water, medical supplies, shelter and sniffer dogs headed to the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation a day after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake flattened much of Port-au-Prince, a city of two million people.

Dily Larochelle was one of several Calgary men with family in Haiti awaiting news at the Haiti Association of Calgary and said the hardest part about the disaster is “not knowing.”

“None of us have really had any contact. The only news we get is what we see on television. I have not slept at all, I have been up all night waiting,” he told Metro.

While Larochelle said he finally heard his brother is alive, his home in Port-au-Prince is destroyed. And there are still other family and friends who haven’t been in contact.

“We haven’t heard from any of my wife’s family. It’s hard for us not knowing anything. It’s been really, really tough.”

Urbain Louissaint, president of the Haiti Association of Calgary, said there are about 2,000 Haitian-Calgarians and while they don’t all know each other, the community comes together in disaster.

“People are calling, coming in here, I think everyone just comes together and we try to be strong,” he said.
with files from the Canadian Press