Ottawa's Haitian community continues to struggle with the agonizing task of trying to locate loved ones who remain unaccounted for in Haiti following a magnificent earthquake that devastated the nation, killing as many as 50,000 people earlier this week.

Days after the quake, Jean-marie Mond�sir is still trying to locate his three children, the youngest just eight years old.

"I'm asking to myself where are my kids, no answer," he told CTV Ottawa.

Mond�sir came to Canada as a refugee and lives and works in Ottawa. His kids live with their mother in Carrefour, a suburb of Port-au-Prince.

He says every call and every email he gets sets off an agonizing rollercoaster of emotion.

"When I watching on the TV how this country is really bad, I expecting for the worst, but I count on God," he said.

His wife's sick mother is also missing in the destruction.


The earthquake sent buildings crumbling to the ground. Health care facilities, schools and government buildings were leveled. Bodies are being pulled out of the rubble. The injured are everywhere.

The Red Cross estimates as many as 50,000 people are dead. Greater numbers may be reported in the coming days.

On the streets of Port-au-Prince itself, survivors set up camps amid piles of salvaged goods. Some used sledgehammers and their bare hands to try to save people trapped inside the rubble.

Rebuilding a nation

In Ottawa, Haitian-Canadians are scouring the Internet and staying tuned to Haitian radio stations for the latest information, helping them piece together how individual neighbourhoods are coping.

As they continue their desperate attempts to get in touch, there is also a focus on helping those who are still alive.

"The devastation is at such a scale that we've even stopped thinking about just the immediate family and looking at what is being done and trying to keep people busy doing things for the rebuilding because there are thousands upon thousands of people who are still alive and we want to make sure that we can take care of them," said Jean Saint Vil, a Haitian community leader in Ottawa.

Aid arrives

International aid started to arrive in Port-au-Prince late Thursday morning, nearly two days after the earthquake flattened Haiti's capital city. It's estimated nearly three million people will be in need of some form of aid, according to the Red Cross.

The Canadian government has offered an immediate pledge of $5 million, and plans to match the charitable donations of individual Canadians, up to a total of $50 million.

Ottawa residents are also rallying behind the cause with several fundraisers popping up around the city.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has compiled a guide, How Canadians Can Help, with tips to avoid scam artists and ensure donations are sent to reputable groups.

Also, the Canada Revenue Agency has created a page to help Canadians be "informed donors" and ensure charities are properly registered.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua