Triangle residents among thousands trapped in Haiti

People run in the streets after an earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010. The powerful earthquake crushed thousands of buildings, including the National Palace and the U.N. peacekeeping headquarters. (AP Photo/Cris Bierrenbach)

January 12, 2010 9:00:00 PM PST
Dozens of local people are trapped in Haiti after a catastrophic earthquake Tuesday.

Many of the North Carolinians in the country are there on missionary trips, including a group of missionaries from Clayton's Horne United Methodist Church.

A townwide effort is underway to send a plane load of supplies to the devastated country.

According to the church, its medical mission team left for Haiti on Sunday. The church received word via e-mail, saying everyone in the group survived.

"We know that they were on the bus when the earthquake struck," said Pastor Alan Swartz, Horne United Methodist Church.

One of the team members, Helen Little, sent the updates from Haiti. She has devoted her life to building schools and orphanages in Haiti.

In one e-mail, Little described the scene. She wrote," They felt the bus shake. Also, saw houses going down around them. There have been death and injuries. Please just pray this is more wide spread that 9/11."

Clayton Mayor Jodi McLeod issued a call for help to the public for supplies.

"We're really encouraging the people in our area to send some financial support or medical supplies to help the aid in Haiti," Mayor McLeod said. "We have a plane that's going to leave from Wilmington in 48 hours -- just a pilot and a plane going with medical supplies."

Members of the United Methodist Church in Garner are waiting for word about a new orphanage and a child it is helping to support.

Men of Faith, a group based out of the church, adopted the orphanage and an orphan who eventually would be able to live in the facility. As of now, the men do not know it that child is okay or if anything is left of the orphanage.

"The four walls were up, the well was dug, but after the earthquake, we don't know what has occurred, we can't get in touch with anyone, and no one has contacted us," David Prince of Men of Faith told ABC11 Eyewitness News.

Prince says local workers were building the orphanage and no one from the Garner group was in Haiti at the time of the earthquake.

And in Durham, a group is waiting for word from some of its staff members. Family Health Ministries has more than 100 staff and volunteers working in the country.

The ministry has been doing work in Haiti for more than a decade and two American staff members were in the country at the time of the quake.

Durham staff members have been calling, e-mailing and Facebooking all day, trying to find out if any information and if any other the Ministries' building are still standing.

They have not heard from the two Americans and only have confirmed that five people are safe.

President Barack Obama released an emergency phone number Wednesday, urging Americans trying to locate family members to contact the U.S. Department of State. The number is 1-888-407-4747.

Meanwhile another group, Hearts with Haiti, is on a mission to get medical attention for the director of three Haitian children's homes who was badly injured in the earthquake.

Bill Nathan runs three children's homes near Port-au-Prince that Hearts with Haiti helps sponsor.

"I see those pictures and I know I'm seeing a tiny snapshot of how horrible it is," said Taki Donovan with Hearts with Haiti.

Nathan was rescued from slavery as a child. He now helps young boys who faced similar fates by providing shelter at the three children's homes.

He now needs help himself after being seriously injured in the earthquake.

"All the boys had gotten out of the St. Joseph home before it collapsed, but Bill had been upstairs and he had to jump from one of the floors of the St. Joseph home onto a neighboring roof," Donovan said.

Hearts with Haiti has arranged a private flight to Haiti for one of their staffers who plans to check on Nathan and bring him back to the US, if necessary and if they can find his passport in the rubble.

In the meantime, the Red Cross is giving other people who want to help several options.

To reach the American Red Cross go to www.redcross.org or the international Red Cross at icrc.org

People can also text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 from their cell phone.

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