WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 12, 2010, 08:27 AM

2 local mission teams are safe after a powerful earthquake stikes Haiti

(WDAY TV) - A powerful earthquake in Haiti has caused total disaster and chaos, according to an aid official, and 2 local mission teams, about 30-people from Fargo-Moorhead, are just 40-miles away from the epicenter, near the capital of Port-Au-Prince. One person said tonight there could be thousands dead.

By: Dana Mogck, WDAY

WDAY 6 Reporter Kevin Wallevand is in Florida tonight, scheduled to fly to Haiti tomorrow morning. He's talked with both teams in the remote village of Pignon.

“I was able to talk to them late this afternoon. They're aware of the earthquake and damage in Port-Au-Prince. They said both trams are fine, which is great news.”

The 7-point-3 earthquake hit this afternoon. It was followed by several aftershocks, the strongest measured at 5-point-9. A hospital collapsed and houses fell into ravines. The medical mission team has been going to Pignon for 12-years. They may now be called on to help with earthquake victims.

“All of Haiti and Port-Au-Prince has really shoddy construction. Just knowing what the building situations are like in Port-Au-Prince, I can only imagine there are tons of buildings down and a lot of people injured.”

Kevin says the mission teams could feel the effects of the quake and despite being the poorest country in the world, there are ways for both groups to contact loved ones back home.

“There is a satellite phone. My guess is members of the teams will call back to Fargo-Moorhead and let family and friends know how they're doing.”

American Airlines has canceled all flights into Port-Au-Prince tomorrow. Kevin says he'll try and get on a relief cargo plane to get to Haiti in the morning. We'll keep you posted.