American Morning

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January 18th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Son searches for father after quake

Editor's Note: The cloud of despair that has engulfed Haiti continues to be punctured by stories of hope and survival. Our Jason Carroll is in Port-au-Prince where he went looking for a father after his son here in New York contacted CNN.

By Jason Carroll and Justin Dial, CNN

When news of the quake broke and images of destruction poured in, Sachiel Mondesir sat in New York, frustrated and worried, unable to reach his father Jean Syrie who was vacationing in Port-au-Prince.

"I was scared. I wanted to know something. Each time I saw a body in the street, I saw houses down, I was afraid where my father could be."

Mondesir tried everything, but communications were down and the U.S. embassy out of reach.

"It was a sense of helplessness where you can't do anything for the person you love. I didn't know what to do."

So Mondesir took a chance and sent an e-mail to CNN asking for help, attaching his father's picture and address.

Armed with the information, we set out to find Jean Syrie. Our local driver, snaking through the complicated streets, asking questions along the way. Finally, we spotted the address, in a neighborhood called Delmas 24.

The Mondesir home was destroyed. There was no sign of Sachiel's father, but we did find Sachiel's aunt.

She said that Sachiel's father is alive and took us to a small camp where they have been staying with other survivors. We waited. There was no sign of Jean Syrie. But when we returned several hours later we greeted him and CNN Producer Justin Dial used our satellite phone to make an important call.

"Sachiel, how are you doing?" asked Jean Syrie. "I'm fine," he replied.

We asked him what it was like to finally speak with his son.

"Sachiel, yes, very nice, very nice. He is my last son," he told us.

More than a thousand miles away a grateful and relieved son.

"It is almost like a dream. We haven't heard from him ... so to speak to him again it is [hard] to even explain emotions."

In a city with so much despair, one family is thankful for the ending they had hoped for.

Learn more about the many organizations
providing emergency aid and relief to victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti and find ways you can get involved by visiting Impact Your World. Impact Your World.

Filed under: Haiti
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Roxanne

    I have been watching CNN each day and I continue to wonder where is the President of Haiti. We've seen his presence on days one and two but have not seen or heard him try to comfort his people! These people need guidance and hope. That must first start with a familiar face and supposed leader.

    January 19, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  2. Carol Whitten

    I found this to be a very educational and informative report. It gave me a one-on-one perspective of what is actually going on over there.

    January 18, 2010 at 3:10 pm |

    I saw a report a short while ago on cnn criticizing some of the medical equipment that wound up in Haiti during this massive emergency relief effort by the entire world. It was almost as if the reporter was trying to make some cynical little joke out of it. I find it ludicris that cnn thinks they're so far above the fray they can ridicule an effort in which everyone involved is doing everything they possibly can to the very of their ability under these circumstances. What cnn is doing is not journalism; it is, quite simply, tabloid sensationalism.

    January 18, 2010 at 11:29 am |