Haitian soldier hopes family is still alive

Pfc. Gerard Placide
Pfc. Gerard Placide

By Lynda Figueredo - email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – For Haitians living in the US, the news of the earthquake in Haiti has been especially devastating.

With communication down, finding out if his family is alive has been virtually impossible for Pfc. Gerard Placide, a Haitian native who is currently stationed at Fort Stewart.

Placide has been calling everyone he knows involved with the United Nations and the Haitian Alliance to find out information from Haiti after the 7.0 earthquake rocked the capital city of Port-au-Prince and its outlying provinces.

"A lot of this is responsible because of the forestation issues and the timing of four hurricanes and now this," said Placide. "What is next?"

With phone lines down or overloaded, Placide has not been able to get in contact with his grandfather who lives in Port-au-Prince.

"We are still getting unconfirmed reports on my grandpa in terms of his death," said an emotional Placide. "At one time they thought grandpa was dead and the next time they said they couldn't confirm."

Placide says the amount of destruction in the capital city has made it difficult to find out whether or not his grandfather is alive.

"The problem is the recognition of bodies," said Placide. "As you know on the island, there is no DNA specialists there and based on the extensive damage, it will probably take DNA."

For now, Placide is keeping in contact with his close friends at the Haitian Alliance in Atlanta to find encouragement and hope.

"Our people are courageous, resilient people and we are effectively dealing with what life is throwing at us," said Saurel Quettan with the Haitian Alliance in a phone interview.

Placide says by uniting with his fellow Haitians, he will be able to get through this tragedy.

"In unity there is strength. This is the banner the Haitian government has built on," said Placide.

That strength is allowing Placide to hold onto hope that is grandfather survived. The soldier also has family members who live in Haiti outside Port-au-Prince.

Placide says has not been able to get in contact with them either, but remains hopeful that they are still alive.

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