Haitian Nova Scotians have been totally cut off from phone contact with the earthquake-ravaged country, leaving them to wait and worry for loved ones.

“I am very distraught, more distraught by the hour,” Halifax’s Marie Helene Beauboeuf said yesterday.

Beauboeuf moved to the Maritimes from Haiti 32 years ago. All of her family still lives in the area of Petion-Ville, which was hard-hit by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti Tuesday.

She has tried repeatedly to get in touch with family members since the quake, but has had no success.

“There is no connection with Haiti at all,” she said.

“Usually everyone has a cellular phone in Haiti. I was hoping that would be easy to connect with them, but even that is down.”

News coming out of the country continues to grow worse, with the death toll now believed to be in the hundreds of thousands.

Beauboeuf is founder of the Salutary Angels charity, which is on South Street and works to improve women’s health in rural areas of Haiti. She was planning on visiting next month. Those plans are now on hold.

She said she can only hope the crisis will bring the Haitian people together.

“There’s always been division in the country. You know, class issues,” she said.

“Now even the rich, those who are privileged, are homeless. So now I think it’s time for the Haitian people … to really reach out to each other and rebuild our country. It is time.”

A group of 13 Nova Scotians on an aid mission to the area of Deschappelles have been reported safe. The group — which includes Haligonians Tim and Heidi Newell and their three children — had been volunteering at the Hands Across the Sea Orphanage, founded by Yarmouth’s Karen Huxter.

Huxter’s brother-in-law, Dickie MacDonald, said yesterday the orphanage buildings were shaken, but none collapsed. The volunteers and orphans are staying outside to be safe.