Dubuque couple returns from Port-au-Prince, Haiti - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque couple returns from Port-au-Prince, Haiti

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Many eastern Iowans have ties to Haiti, the site of a deadly earthquake Tuesday. A Dubuque couple, Mel and Theresa Harvey, left Port-au-Prince just before the earthquake struck.

Communication with the island has been very difficult since the quake. The Harveys have heard almost nothing. They tried all day Wednesday to reach people they know and were just with Tuesday morning. Some are okay, and others, they just don't know about.

Harvey and his wife spent the last week in Port de Paix, Haiti helping the twin parish of St. Anthony's parish in Dubuque. Tuesday morning, they went to Port-au-Prince.

"The thing we noticed was that Port-au-Prince has changed a lot in comparison to the countryside and other cities which are in very, very poor shape, Port-au-Prince is really coming around," Harvey said.

Hours after leaving to head home, the earthquake hit.

"It's kind of creepy feeling. Makes your skin crawl a little bit because it could actually have happened anytime," Harvey said.

Now, they're trying to find out if their friends, and twin parish, are okay.

"We have friends in Port-au-Prince and Port-de-Paix, and we know nothing about them," Harvey said. "We've made contact with the two students we were visiting in Port-au-Prince. They are okay, but they keep saying, everything is broken, everything is broken."

From dictators to poverty to hurricanes, Harvey says he can't believe Haiti is hit with tragedy again.

"I just don't know what's going to happen. This is a terrible blow to a very poor country who just can't get a break," Harvey said.

Two trips are planned to the sister parish in the next month. One trip is to do the church roofing project and one is a medical mission. It's not clear whether those will happen.

Another Dubuque couple has a medical mission planned in Haiti later this month, but they're not sure what will happen now. Anna DeWitt, a nurse practitioner, and her husband, an oral surgeon, go at least once a year to Gromothe. That's a village twelve miles from Port-au-Prince.

They help run a medical clinic with Mountaintop Ministries. DeWitt says she has gotten word that the village they serve is okay and the facilities were not damaged by the earthquake.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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