Quake Survivor Worries about Kids Still in Haiti

By Al Pefley  email

Port St. Lucie, FL (WFLX)

"I really want them back here because I'm here and my husband is here. I can't live without the children," said Elise Petit, a nursing assistant from Port St. Lucie.

Her husband was seriously injured in the Haiti earthquake January 12.   But now he and his wife are  worried for the safety of their children still in Haiti.  They are unable to get them back into the U.S.

He was seriously injured in the Haiti earthquake recently and now he's well enough to be released from the hospital this weekend. But that doesn't mean his problems are over.

Jeanoperny Petit was visiting a friend in Port-au-Prince that afternoon when the earthquake rocked the city. He spoke to us from his hospital bed, with the help of an interpreter.

"When I was over at my friend's house and the earthquake started, and the house was shaking and everything I was just praying to God, to let me out. Let me survive.  I  thought I wasn't gonna make it, I thought I was gonna die," Petit said.

He was trapped in the rubble for 15 hours, until he heard someone's voice who was looking for survivors, and that person pulled him to safety.

Petit, married and the father of  three children, is recovering at St. Lucie Medical Center with cuts to his face and the top of his head and he has various bruises.

His kidney function is improved, and he's off the dialysis machine.

But he worries now that he and his wife still have three kids over there in Haiti.  "It's very hard for me to be here and my kids not with me. It's very hard for me. Anybody who has kids should understand that," Petit said.

The three children,  Daphnie, 13,  Wodberny, 11  and Rose Dournie, 10,  are staying with relatives.

But the couple is worried that in a country where so many buildings are flattened, and food and water are in short supply, the children could suffer there and need to be in Florida.

"Sometimes I cry because when I'm thinking what happened to me and they still in Haiti, it hurts me," Petit said.

He and his wife are appealing to the U.S. government and elected leaders in Florida for help.

"What I want them to do if they can give me the kids. Call my wife and give them the kids soon as possible because that's really my problem, you know, to have those kids here," Petit said.

Petit is expected to get out of the hospital Saturday morning and he will then be transferred to a rehab facility so that he can learn to walk again. He's expected to make a full recovery.

His wife says she has called the U.S. Embassy and south Florida Congressman Tom Rooney for assistance, but so far she has not been able to get approval for the three kids to travel to Florida.

All three were not hurt in the quake and are staying with relatives in Haiti.  She says they have completed all the paperwork needed to get them to the U.S.