January 12th, 2010
08:41 PM ET

Haitians in U.S. watch earthquake news and worry

Jessica Ravitz and Stephanie Chen

With phone lines down and communication cut, Haitians living in America are "sick with worry" and scrambling for information about Tuesday's earthquake, while fretting about their troubled homeland and their loved ones.

"Well, we're watching the news unfold, and I just don't know what to think," said Gepsi Metellus, executive director of the Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center in Miami, Florida.

She said her mother, who splits her time between Haiti - she lives in Pétionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince - and Miami, just flew back to the island on Friday. While Metellus and others are glued to TVs, she said, "We're not learning a thing. It's just making me sick with worry."

Haiti is the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere. Plagued with "political violence for most of its history," according to the CIA World Factbook, the Caribbean island nation has suffered from colonialism, coups and corruption since becoming the first black republic in 1804.

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