Weeks after quake, LI toddler still stuck in Haiti

February 17, 2010 2:51:00 PM PST
A 2-year-old girl from Long Island remains stuck in Haiti Wednesday. Her parents have been trying to bring her back since the earthquake, and they are still trying to figure out how. Fabiola Pierre-Paul has lived the past month suspended in time, waiting for the call that her daughter is coming home.

"Every time my phone rings, I feel like somebody is going to tell me something happened to Brianna," she said.

Before the earthquake that rocked Haiti, Fabiola took Brianna there to stay with her grandmother. Fabiola returned to Elmont with the girl's passport.

But then, the earthquake left the toddler and her grandmother on the streets in Port-au-Prince with no proof the girl was an American citizen. Fabiola convinced a local relief agency to fly the passport down. That was weeks ago, but still - no luck.

"I don't know where to go," Fabiola said. "I don't know where to go."

So what is the big holdup? Brianna's grandmother is among the thousands of Haitians waiting for a visa to travel to the U.S. and Brianna is waiting there with her. On Wednesday, the State Department said they would be willing to escort Brianna home, alone. But that would mean leaving her grandmother behind, for who knows how long.

Senator Chuck Schumer told Eyewitness News that his office would try to cut through the web of red tape, even more tangled thanks to the primitive conditions in the earthquake-ravaged country.

Meanwhile, Fabiola says Brianna is getting sick, and her grandmother is running out of pills for her blood pressure. She fears time is running out.

"I need my daughter to come home," she said. "I need her to come home safely, not get a phone call telling me something happened to her. I will never forgive myself and never forgive the government here."