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Echo Park Haitian restaurant packed with people wanting to give to quake relief


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People from around the Southland packed an Echo Park restaurant last night to raise money and talk about ways to get aid to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

People gathered at Tigeorges restaurant to support, donate and find out what else they can do to send assistance to Haiti. Eugl Nicoleau is one of them.

“My garage is filled up with hygene kits, clothing, shoes all kinds of stuff that I need to send to Haiti.
" So he says he ran around in the last day or two filling his garage "collecting from churches, from schools. Its amazing how everybody wants to help.”

Nicoleau is hoping to connect with a pastor that he heard can help ship the donations to Haiti.

As the night goes on at Tigeorges a pile of donations grows—blankets, bandaids, bottled water line a wall of the restaurant.

Nicoleau has lived in the US for decades but still has family in Haiti. He finally got word most everyone is ok. But two of his relatives didn’t make it. “My brother in law was not home when the earthquake happened and the second floor crushed his mother. My cousin was injured and she expired at the hospital,“ he says.

Communication into Haiti is still tough. But several people expressed relief that someone in their family was able to get a brief call thru . “I talked to my mom and dad and my family is ok thank god. But the houses are gone.” Sandler Pierre drove from his Orange County home in Anaheim Hills up to Echo Park for the event at Tigeorges.

“I feel much better that I got ahold of them. I am relieved they are alive. “

Another man says he was fortunate to find his niece and her husband are ok. Their whole house slid down a hillside and landed at the bottom of a ravine. They were rescued inside.

He says most everyone is sleeping outside or in their cars because of all the after shocks.
With a few brief calls getting through, Haitians here are getting riveting stories from home.
“My mom was driving when it hit she was driving. By the time she got home it was total demolished. It was something out of a movie.” David Wolley talked briefly with his mom. “She said it was like a domino effect. Which means one after the other after the other after the other house was crumbling. She was driving and the ground was shaking “

Even for the people who are OK at the moment, there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

“What about water? Communication is scarce. I don’t know how they are getting their resources. I have no idea,“ Wolley said.

Wolley is pleased one group of people at TiGeorges announced a donation of 3 metric tons of bottled water. But getting the water into Haiti is another challenge. They are calling airlines and freight companies trying to find a way to get all the water delivered to the earthquake ravaged country.

Haitian-Americans in Southern California have more fundraisers and brainstorming sessions ahead. Right now they say the immediate need is for cash – and prayers.