Brentwood resident Faidy Jacques was praying for his mother's safety in Haiti. Then, almost miraculously, one of the calls to his native country finally got through.

He heard the familiar voice of a family friend living in Jacmel, Haiti, who told Jacques his mother was safe and nearby. Shortly after that his 79-year-old mother got on the phone.

"It was so emotional," Jacques said of the 15-minute phone call about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday. "I wanted to hear her voice. I kept asking her if she was OK."

Slices of good news sprinkled in among the devastating stories flowing out of Haiti after the country's worst earthquake in 200 years. News their relatives were alive was a huge relief for many who had not slept since Tuesday after the quake hit.

Jacques said his mother, Celiane Mars, was visiting family and was due back here in February. Jacques now hopes she will be back sooner.

Margarette Cesar, a home health aid worker also from Brentwood, was eventually able to get through as well. Cesar said she was able to talk to her 81-year-old father Wednesday.

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"It was very short," Cesar said of the phone call. "He was saying that he was OK, then the line cut. No details."

Cesar was born in Port-au-Prince and has sisters, cousins and other family living in Haiti. She could not get details on how they fared. "All we can do is pray," she said.

In Valley Stream, Wendy Cesar, 28, a registered nurse, said she learned that some family members are safe - but was still looking for others.

Cesar, no relation to Margarette Cesar, said a relative in Florida was able to send text messages to Haiti yesterday morning to learn about the condition of her husband's brother and sister-in-law, three of her cousins and an uncle. The uncle and one cousin were hospitalized and in comas, but the other family members were fine, she said.

"We are still looking for my husband's mother," she added.

 

Major earthquake hits Haiti

Wendy Cesar also learned that about 70 people were trapped in the rubble of a school, which she identified as Centre Technique de St. Gerard and run by her uncle, in Port-au-Prince. She said she and her husband could do little else but wait for the phone to ring.

"That's all we can do for now," she said. "We have tried to get flights there, but it is not possible. No flights are open, so we just wait."

At Stony Brook University, Dexter Daniels, 20, a junior from Brooklyn, said he had spent two days trying to find his aunt in Port-au-Prince. He finally got to talk to her Thursday morning. "What a relief!" said Daniels, who is president of the university's Haitian Student Association, but added his family was still looking for several relatives on his father's side.

At Farmingdale State College, Christelle Prophete, 19, a sophomore from Bay Shore, said she was born here but spent a lot of time in Haiti as a child. Her relatives still live in the old house where she stayed when she was there. She feared it might have collapsed during the earthquake.

But on Thursday, she got the good news: the house survived, and so did her relatives.

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>>PHOTOS: Frantic rescue effort in Haiti | Deadliest recent earthquakes

>> LIVE: Twitter coverage of the scene in Haiti, from aid agencies, and reaction worldwide

>> VIDEOS: Latest videos from Haiti and on LI

>> MORE: Upload photos of loved ones missing in Haiti | Read more about LIers grieving and LI's efforts to help | Latest news from Haiti | Haiti's road to chaos: 2006 Newsday series


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HOW TO HELP

* You can help immediately by texting "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be charged to your cell phone bill and given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts.

* Wyclef Jean, a rapper and hip-hop artist from Haiti, urged people to text "Yele" to 501501 to donate $5 toward earthquake relief. Yéle Haiti is a grassroots movement inspiring change in Haiti through programs in education, sports, the arts and environment, according to its Web site.

* The State Department Operations Center has set up the following number for Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti: 1-888-407-4747. The Red Cross has also set up a Web site to help family members find and contact relatives.

* You can also go online to organizations such as the Red Cross and MercyCorps to make a contribution to the disaster relief efforts.

The FBI warned Internet users to be wary of e-mail messages seeking donations in the aftermath of the quake. People who want to send money or assistance should contribute to known organizations and should be careful not to respond to unsolicited e-mails, officials said.

Other Web sites accepting donations include:

-Haitian Health Foundation
-Hope for Haiti
-UNICEF
-International Medical Corps
-Beyond Borders
-AmeriCares