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Communication breakdown increases heartache of Haiti quake

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Communication breakdown in Haiti leaves people around world anxious over fate of loved ones
  • Few phone calls going through in Haiti in the aftermath of Tuesday's 7.0-magnitude quake
  • People were driven to texting, social networking sites and other online communication
  • Thousands reached out through CNN's iReport Web page, asking for information

Watch live reports from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Anderson Cooper is on scene for firsthand accounts of the horror and devastation from the earthquake.

(CNN) -- A communication breakdown has left people in anxious limbo around the globe with those outside Haiti not knowing whether loved ones there survived a major earthquake, and those in Haiti unable to get word out that they're safe.

With few phone calls going through in the Caribbean nation in the aftermath of Tuesday's 7.0-magnitude quake, people were driven to texting, social networking sites and other online communication.

Thousands of people reached out through CNN's iReport Web page, posting pictures of missing loved ones and asking anyone with information to contact them.

Pleas for help filled page after page on iReports, including:

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• Johanna Neyra, who was trying to track down her cousin and his wife, Luis and Heidy Carazas. Luis Carazas works for the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince, in the Haitian capital. "His family is very concerned in Peru," said Neyra, who waited for word of their fate, knowing the official Vatican newspaper had reported that Joseph Serge Miot, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Port-au-Prince, had died in the earthquake.

• Naeemah Carre of Garden City, New York, reported no success in trying to raise her brother and six other relatives via e-mail and Facebook.

• New York City resident Marie Aline Sillice had not heard from her father, Frangel Victor Sillice, or her cousin Yvon Consean, who were to have been traveling outside the Haitian capital on Tuesday.

• Chico and Kathleen Boyer waited in Brooklyn, New York, to hear from daughter Maureen, who moved to Haiti two weeks ago. A number of aunts and cousins also were missing. Maureen Boyer posted to her Twitter account late Tuesday afternoon, but had not been heard from since.

"When the earthquake hit, she may have been home already or on the road close to home," Kathleen Boyer said in her iReport. "We can't get through to the consulate to report her as a missing U.S. citizen."

• Renee Guercia of Muttontown, New York, waited for word about her 71-year-old father, Joseph, who was in Port-au-Prince on business when the quake hit.

Joseph Guercia was meeting with an associate, John Scarborough, on the fifth floor of the Hotel Montana when the shaking began.

"They were having a conversation when the earthquake hit and the roof caved in," Renee Guercia said. "John called out for my dad and there was no response."

Scarborough -- knocked unconscious -- was later rescued from the rubble of the hotel and airlifted to Miami, Guercia said.

The Red Cross, as part of its relief effort, has set up a Web page to assist people who have lost contact with someone in Haiti. More than 1,000 names were on the list early Thursday.

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In Port-au-Prince, residents reached out to CNN reporters, pressing bits of paper into their hands with personal information, in the hope that television could tell of their survival after phone lines had failed them.

"It just rings, but nobody answers and we have no communication right now in Haiti," Jean Desroches told CNN's John Zarrella in the Little Haiti neighborhood in Miami, Florida. "It's worse not knowing. That is my problem right now."

CNN's Ed Payne contributed to this report.

 
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