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Westbury man's wife rescued in Haiti

The phone rang again in the Westbury home of Lionel Sannon early Saturday. His more than three-day wait for word on his earthquake-injured wife, Jocelyne, was happily over.

"I couldn't believe it," Sannon said. "I said, 'Is that you? Where are you?' She said, 'Kingston, Jamaica.' "

Sannon, an assistant nurse supervisor at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, was among tens of thousands of area Haitian-Americans who have anxiously awaited news from family members since Tuesday afternoon, when the massive quake struck.

Until 4 a.m. Saturday, when his phone rang with his wife on the line. She was a patient at University Hospital of the West Indies in Jamaica.

The days since the 7.0 magnitude temblor had been arduous for Jocelyne, a partly paralyzed stroke victim who had gone to Haiti to spend a month convalescing with family. She narrowly avoided being crushed, but her legs were broken by falling debris at the home of an aunt outside the capital, Port-au-Prince. Relatives tended to her as best they could, rigging a makeshift stretcher where she lay for the next two days, sleeping fitfully under the Caribbean sky.

But her wounds became infected and she developed a fever. Family members worried that Jocelyn, a diabetic, might die without medical attention. The only hospital in Leogane, where she had been staying, had been closed for more than two years.

Though the quake rendered roads largely impassable, a brother with a car decided to try to drive the 22 harrowing miles to where U.S. officials had arrived at the Port-au-Prince airport.

He got through, and Jocelyne was evacuated to Kingston.

But the family's ordeal is not over. Doctors in Jamaica say Jocelyne must have surgery to reset a leg. And Lionel Sannon said an air ambulance company demanded $22,000 cash to bring his wife home.

"I told her I love her," Sannon said. "But I don't know where I can get $20,000 overnight."

>>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: 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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