Missionaries in Haiti, Haitians living in New Orleans cast wary eyes on Isaac

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wwltv.com

Posted on August 24, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 24 at 6:41 PM

Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News
Email: mrodriguez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mrodriguezwwl

NEW ORLEANS-- From her home in New Orleans East, Fenelle Guillaume is keeping tabs on Isaac, as it heads towards her relatives in Haiti.

"They said they're okay and they're just waiting to see what happens," Guillaume said, after speaking to them by phone on Friday.

Upwards of 400,000 Haitians remain in tents set up after the 2010 earthquake there. It is a concern for many observers, including five missionaries from Louisiana who are also there, as they attempt to rebuild an earthquake-damaged church. Among them: the Reverend Dr. Tim Smith of Gretna United Methodist Church. He spoke to Eyewitness News by phone on Friday from Port-au-Prince.

"You know, a storm with 25, 30 miles an hour, I think, would just shred those tents to pieces," he said. "We were very concerned looking at the people and, I mean, the tents go on for miles and miles."

Rev. Smith said conditions were already beginning to deteriorate from the southwest coast of the Dominican Republic all the way to the Haitian capital.

"One of the questions that we had for our translator, our interpreter, was you know, how aware the Haitians were about it, particularly out in the rural community," Rev. Smith said. "The way that they get the word out is through the cell phone companies. They send a text to everyone that subscribes to let them know that a storm is coming and that it's on the way."

Back in New Orleans East, Guillaume reflected on her most recent trip to Haiti last month, as she cast a wary eye on where Isaac may head next.

"I'm worried about Isaac because after Katrina, we're worried about anything coming in the Gulf," she said.

In the meantime, Rev. Smith and the other missionaries plan to fly out of Haiti on Monday. However, that all depends on what happens after the storm passes.
 

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