Local Haitians Organize Help, Wait for News

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    TK
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    PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI - JANUARY 12: People come to the aid of a wounded man on January 12, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. A 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti today, followed by at least a dozen aftershocks, causing widespread devastation in the capital of Port-au-Prince. (Photo by Frederic Dupoux/Getty Images)

    Chicagoland’s more than 30,000 Haitians are waiting with baited breath to hear news from their homeland after an 7.0 magnitude earthquake there devastated the poor island nation.

    But news is slow to reach Chicago – a city settled by Haitian fur trader Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable.

    "We don't know what's going on," Judith François, who has relatives in Port au Prince told CBS-2. "It is a poor country. The government doesn't plan for this."

    With telecommunications crushed and the country dealing with a death toll that is climbing into the thousands, emigrants are depending on grainy news images to keep them abreast of the situation.

    The Evanston-based Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti is currently collecting donations of canned goods and medical supplies that they plan to send to the destroyed Caribbean nation along with volunteers.

    They hope they can make it in time to help; but they’re not sure of the extent of the devastation.

    "It's a little somber. We're trying to figure out what to do. We're trying to get facts, come together, hold each other up and ... try to build collective support," Lionel Jean-Baptiste, chairman of the organization and alderman of Evanston's 2nd Ward told the Chicago Tribune.

    Haiti Earthquake:  How to Help