Kelowna resident Laura Allan remains trapped in Haiti, where she has been volunteering over the past 12 years as a foreign aid worker. (Photo - Contributed)

Fundraiser for Kelowna woman trapped in Haiti reaches goal

Laura Allan can’t return home due to civil unrest in the Caribbean country

A fundraiser started to help a Kelowna woman get home has reached its goal.

Laura Allan has spent nearly 12 years working in Haiti to improve the lives of Haitians as a foreign aid worker, and earlier this month she was trapped in the country due to heavy blockades and protests over allegations of government corruption.

The tumult shut down roads and led to gunshots in the streets. Conditions have since returned to normal, but Canadians were urged to leave at the time.

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 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.

The fundraiser has surpassed its goal of $4,000, reaching $4,141 as of Tuesday morning. Allan said GoFundMe still has not released the funds yet, so she won’t see the money until March 3 at the earliest.

READ MORE: Fundraiser started for Kelowna foreign aid worker trapped in Haiti

“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 says.

Allan said she didn’t have power for 11 days. Last week, 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.

In a previous interview with the Capital News, she said she was hoping to leave the country this week.

READ MORE: New federal advisory says Canadians should avoid all travel to Haiti

The GoFundMe can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/emergency-fund-for-canadian-to-leave-haiti


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