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Hicksville family awaits fate of missing UN worker in Haiti

Andrew Grene of Hicksville, a UN peacekeeper, has

Andrew Grene of Hicksville, a UN peacekeeper, has been found dead in the earthquake's rubble, family members have said. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

A Hicksville family is anxiously awaiting word of the fate of Andrew Grene, 44, a United Nations peacekeeping official who was in Haiti at the time of last week's earthquake.

"We are hoping and praying with every fiber of our beings" that Grene will be OK, his twin brother, Gregory, said Monday outside Andrew's family home in Hicksville.

Andrew Grene has spent the last four to five years working in Haiti, coming home at least every couple of months to visit his wife, Jennifer, and their three children. Jennifer is an English teacher at Long Island Lutheran High School in Brookville.

Gregory Grene said little information is available about his brother's fate. He said it was possible he was in a meeting at the UN Mission in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake struck. The head of the mission, Hedi Annabi, was killed when the building collapsed. Grene is a special assistant to Annabi.

The United Nations says it has confirmed that at least 40 people were killed when its headquarters collapsed.

Grene "may still be trapped in the rubble, where his family hopes and prays he may yet be found," the family said in a statement. His wife was too distraught to speak to reporters, Gregory Grene said.

Andrew Grene was born in Chicago and split his childhood between Ireland and the United States. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he has two sons - Patrick, 21, and Alex, 19 - who are students there. He also has a 14-year-old daughter, Rosamund.

Grene and his family moved to New York about 15 years ago when he took a job at the UN.

"He's a real family man," his brother said, adding he came back to New York at every opportunity he could to see them.

He said Andrew Grene "is truly the most amazing guy I've ever known. He's absolutely brilliant, but also deeply modest and generous and sweet." Andrew last saw his family during Christmas.

Gregory Grene, of New York City, is a founding member of the U.S.-based Celtic rock band The Prodigals. The twins' mother, Ethel May Weiss, is an emergency room doctor in Chicago. Their late father, David Grene, a Dublin native, was a professor at the University of Chicago.

>>PHOTOS: Newsday's Charles Eckert in Haiti | 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: Read more about LIers grieving and LI's efforts to help | Latest news from Haiti | Haiti's road to chaos: 2006 Newsday series


* 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
-International Medical Corps
-Beyond Borders


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