Cal Students Stuck in Haiti Quake Zone

By Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, Jan 14, 2010  |  Updated 7:30 AM PDT
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Dramatic Photos: Earthquake Aftermath in Haiti

NBC Bay Area

Jessica Vechakul is stuck in Haiti.

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The families of two UC Berkeley grad students are feeling some relief after hearing word from their loved ones in Haiti.

Jessica Vechakul, a PhD mechanical engineering student, and Ryan Stanley, a business grad student, are in Haiti working on a third world development project. They were four hours south of Port au Prince when the 7.0 quake hit.

Vechakul's professor has been in touch with her through e-mail.

"I didn't know whether she ... what her situation was and I'm very relieved she's okay." Alice Agogino said. "I think I would love to see her somehow manage to come home."

On the Berkeley campus, students are stepping up and raising funds to help the people of Haiti recover and rebuild.

"You just see the images of the buildings that went down and you see the bodies that are being lifted out of the rubble." said Michael Bloch, the freshman leading the relief effort. "It's just heartbreaking to see what happened. You feel compelled to do something."

Vechakul and Stanley are scheduled to start classes next week at Berkeley. They may have to take a boat to the Dominican Republic and fly home from there but Vechakul might delay her return home because she wants to help the relief efforts in Haiti.

"She is an absolutely incredible student." Agogino said.

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