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‘I know these people’: Haitian disaster hits close to Okanagan home

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‘I know these people’: Haitian disaster hits close to Okanagan home – Oct 7, 2016

Tamara Gustave has been on and off the phone with her husband for three days straight.

The connection isn’t great, but after the week he’s had, Tamara said she’s just happy hearing his voice.

Peterson Gustave, whom Tamara met while working for an aid organization in Haiti, lives in a town that was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew early Tuesday.

“Monday night I kept calling him and he kept telling me that it was getting worse,” said Tamara.

READ MORE: Aerial view shows widespread devastation in Haiti as death toll is over 800

On Friday, Peterson told his wife on the phone that most of his Les Cayes neighbors are homeless, injured, or completely missing. Many of the Gustave’s relatives have yet to be contacted. Peterson Gustave

“He doesn’t know if all of them are OK yet,” said Tamara. “Not knowing if the people I love are still there is scary.”

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READ MORE: Haiti left flattened, devastated by Hurricane Matthew

The hurricane’s death toll is currently over 800, but many officials are predicting a rise in the coming days as towns are safely searched.

“I know these people. They’re my friends and family and I know what they’re going through.”

Tamara said that amongst all of the chaos, she can’t help but feel lucky that her husband is still alive. But though the storm may be gone, she says the real work is just starting.

“Some cities are completely wiped out and in need of our help. They have no access to food and no money. All of their crops have been damaged, and their livestock,” she said. “If they lost their house it’s not like they have insurance…they have nothing.”

She is urging Canadians to get involved and to provide whatever aid they can to the countries affected. She’ll be going to Haiti later this month.

 

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