Eight nurses from Canada are currently trapped in a compound in the community of Grand Goave, Haiti, and their supplies are running out.
The nurses have travelled there on a mission coordinated by Hope Grows Haiti, an organization that works to “feed, clothe, house and educate the poor and abandoned children” of the Grand Goâve area, and provide medical services and care for the elderly.
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Lauren Davey, one of the nurses, was expected to fly home to Bradford, Ont. three days ago, her friend Lauren Kennedy told Global News.
But none can leave the compound because deadly protests have blocked their access to the capital of Port-au-Prince and the airport there.
There’s concern that if the group went to the airport, then they could be taken hostage by people amid rioting and demonstrations that have called for the resignation of President Jovenel Moise.
At Davey’s request, Kennedy has taken action to help them out of the country. She has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds to helicopter the group out of Grand Goâve and take them to the airport, where an Air Canada flight can take them to Montreal on Monday.
The situation has had Kennedy worried for Davey and her mother, who is also on the trip.
“Every time I talked to her, I would say, stay safe, don’t go out of your way to do anything,” Kennedy told Global News.
“It’s scary, but I think they’ll be OK, I hope.”
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The GoFundMe campaign was started on Friday, with a goal of $9,000; it exceeded that goal, hitting over $16,000 as of Friday night.
The nurses trapped at the compound are rationing what they have — food, water, other essentials — until they can leave the country.
They expect to lose cell phone service soon.
They could try to make it to the airport over the weekend, but the GoFundMe page said they wouldn’t be able to sleep in the airport, forcing them to the streets of Port-au-Prince.
Therefore, a Monday morning helicopter ride could provide them with their best chance to flee the Caribbean country.
GoFundMe confirmed to Global News that it is working with Kennedy to ensure that the money raised through the campaign reaches the right place.
Any excess donations are expected to go to Hope Grows Haiti, to pay for any supplies the organization needs to help people in the country.
Kennedy admits to growing more nervous as time goes on. But she’s hopeful.
“If everything goes well Monday, I think we’ll all be OK,” she said.