Local humanitarian workers stuck in Haiti

April 10, 2008 8:36:25 PM PDT
There is growing concern about a group of humanitarian aid workers from our area working in Haiti. For the last few days, violence and looting have taken over the island nation. Protestors are angry about rising food costs.

The workers are now trapped in a hotel in a remote village five hours from the capital of Port-au-Prince.

Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Pegues has the latest.

"Nervous, just trusting in God," said John Silverberg, husband of a trapped worker. "I know he's going to bring them all home safe.''

Silverberg is concerned about his wife and 12 other nurses and doctors from Upper Saddle River's Church of the Presentation.

For years, the church has sponsored medical missions to Haiti. But never before has the group been in danger like this.

"It totally erupted on Monday," trapped worker Joe Nuzzi said via phone. "By 9 in the morning, this part of the country was totally paralyzed.''

The group is caught in the middle of violent protests in Haiti. They are essentially trapped in a hotel, unable to escape the violence.

Over the last three days, the impoverished nation has been paralyzed by the protest, as groups of people there take to the streets, outraged by the rising cost of food.

Caught in the middle is a team of medical professionals on a mission of mercy.

"But at this point, we've been told to just have them sit tight," said Fr. Bob Stag, of the Church of the Presentation. "To move would be dangerous.''

This is now a waiting game for dozens of family members and friends. What they are hoping for is that the State Department or local politicians help to intervene to get the group home.