A Kelowna woman trapped in Haiti is doing all she can to get home safely, but it’s not been easy.
Laura Allan has spent nearly 12 years working in Haiti to improve the lives of Haitians as a foreign aid worker, and now she’s trapped in the country due to heavy blockades and protests over allegations of government corruption. The tumult has shut down roads and led to gunshots in the streets. Canadians have been urged to leave.
Allan said she’s currently in a safe place, but getting water and resources is difficult.
“It’s heartbreaking because I’ve never been prevented from doing my work before,” she said. “We’re locked down and it’s really weird because you have bars on your windows, (it’s like) you’re doing prison time.”
With little assistance from the Canadian government, she said she has to fundraise her way home, which requires renting a helicopter as the roads are too dangerous for her to travel to the airport from her location in Jacmel.
“It’s disheartening when (the Canadian government) sends you a message saying leave the country and I can’t get to the airport,” she said, noting that when she experienced the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, aid was readily available. Now that it’s a political conflict, it’s a different story but the need is just as intense.
She didn’t have power for 11 days and on Friday, she drove past a large fire on the road where someone had set a tire ablaze in order to get water, which she said was like a scene from a movie.
Allan works as a landscaper in Kelowna, but part her year is spent in Haiti. During all her time working overseas, she’s never experienced civil unrest like this.
She remains hopeful that she can leave the country next week, if she can get a little more for the GoFundMe, she said.
The GoFundMe can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/emergency-fund-for-canadian-to-leave-haiti?