Jean Morency of Tucumcari lived in Haiti until he was 12 years old.
By Thomas Garcia: Freedom New Mexico
A Quay County business owner says he’s stunned at the destruction in Haiti, where he has relatives struggling to survive.
“I asked my brother if he had eaten anything,” Jean Morency of Tucumcari said on Tuesday. “He told me yes he had eaten but he had to fight for it.”
Morency, who owns and operates Subway restaurants in Tucumcari and Logan with his wife, Diane, said he received a call from his brother Jackson Beaubrun, who lives in Petit Goave on Thursday, two days after the earthquake hit.
“The communication was horrible,” Morency said. “It was difficult to understand a lot of what Jackson was saying.”
Morency said his brother told him several buildings in the town had fallen, including city hall and the town church where Morency said he was baptized and received his first communion.
Morency said he was born in Petit Goave, which is two hours west of the capital city of Port-au-Prince, and lived there until he was 12 years old. He said he moved to Port-au-Prince for five years then moved to the U.S. in 1973.
Morency said he has not spoke to his brother since his call last week.
“I have tried to call my brother several times,” Morency said. “The phone just rings with no answer. It is very frustrating not being able to get a hold of people.”
Morency said communication had always been bad when he tried to call Haiti but the earthquake made it worse.
Morency said his step-mother, Odette Morency flew to Haiti the morning of the earthquake.
“Her plane landed in the morning,” Morency said. “The quake struck later in the day.”
Morency said later in the week his father, Farrell Morency, contacted him and told him that his mother-in-law is alive and is remaining in Haiti to help.
“I was told that her house was intact,” Morency said. “She wanted to remain there in Haiti to try and help the people.”
Morency said he will continue to work while waiting for word from his family.
“I do not believe that I have a missing person in my family,” Morency said. “I know the communication is bad. I will never assume the worst.”
The earthquake struck the island at 4:53 p.m. EST Jan. 12, according to McClatchey News Service reports.
The quake registered at a magnitude of 7.0 and there have been numerous aftershocks in the past week.
Foreign relief has been filtering into Haiti over the past week to aid in the medical care and search efforts. By midweek there will be 5,000 U.S. troops on the ground, according to McClatchey reports.
The death toll is estimated at 200,000.