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Local nun says sisters in need of aid after Haiti earthquake

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Nearly 1,300 people were killed and thousands were injured after a 7.2-Magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Saturday.

For Sister Martha Abshire with the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, this hits close to home. Their convent in Aquin, was damaged in the earthquake.

"My heart hit the floor. I know the devastation. I was actually in Haiti for the 2010 earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince and we felt it even 75 miles away. So, for the epicenter to be less than five miles from where we live and a 7.2, I was terrified," said Sister Martha Abshire, vice president for Mission at Franciscan University.

Two sisters of the missionary are currently living in Haiti and tell Sister Abshire they are lucky to be alive.

"They were in the vehicle... probably on their way to mass when the earthquake hit. Their news to us is, 'we were in the car. That's what saved us.' So our convent was damaged, very damaged. In fact, it's so unstable that they're actually sleeping in the car," Sister Abshire said.

The destruction has also pushed hospitals to the brink and blocked access to roads and vital supplies.

Sister Abshire tells WBRZ their hospital has been completely damaged.

Our small hospital for malnourished infants and children, the word is it's been destroyed. I'm sure if it had any occupants that had been killed, they would have let us know. But the road is so badly damaged, the sisters can't get to it. So, they'll have to go by foot to be able to see what's going on," Abshire said.

Aside from the destruction and having to keep a close eye on Grace's track, Sister Abshire says gangs are another issue for them.

"So, the difficulty is the roads are barricaded because of the gangs. They're refusing to let people through, and they said they would not let humanitarian aid get through."

Sister Abshire said she is hopeful relief efforts will begin within the next week.


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