‘It’s awful’: RI Haitian organization leader says of devastation to country


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Haitian community in Rhode Island is reeling from the recent devastation as many of them are desperately trying to connect with loved ones.

12 News spoke with Bernard Georges, president of New Bridges For Haitian Success.

Georges has an uncle, brother and sister living in the country. He said they sent him a video of them running to safety after feeling their house shake.

“Honestly, I try to sleep, I couldn’t sleep. It is just in my mind. It is bothering me and it is worrying me. I do not know what to expect,” he said.

Georges said right now, the main objective is to get people medical attention.

“In order for you to receive treatment, if you go to any clinic, you need cash in your hands. If you don’t have cash, they will not treat you.”

Another member of the Haitian community in Southern New England is a pastor in Providence, who said he couldn’t get in touch with his father for quite some time.

Pastor Wesley Wagnac’s father is alive and well, but he says in the moments that went unanswered, his mind went to the worst place.

In the earthquake of 2010, three million people were affected including 250,000 thousand lives lost. Pastor Wagnac says Haitians were sleeping outside for weeks after that earthquake to make sure their homes didn’t collapse on them in a tremor or aftershock.

That’s what many families are currently doing, but are doing so in a country with no functioning government and no leader in place, so Pastor Wagnac says that’s complicating the situation and the recovery.

“I don’t think we ever recovered from the first one because I still know people that live under tents from the 2010 one so certainly we were not prepared, we’re never prepared for those kinds of things and I think that’s why every time we have such disasters it claims so many lives because the infrastructure is not good,” he explained.

Since there’s no governmental infrastructure in place, it can make it challenging to give donations to help with the recovery and rebuilding efforts along with medical care.

Here is a list of several local organizations that Pastor Wagnac trusts will get the money where it’s needed in Haiti:

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