MU professor in Port-au-Prince unharmed

Thursday, January 14, 2010 | 6:30 p.m. CST; updated 7:39 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 14, 2010

COLUMBIA — An MU professor volunteering in Haiti was unharmed by the Haitian earthquake, but another MU professor on Thursday had yet to hear from family members there.

 Carsten Strathausen, professor in the MU German and Russian departments, received an e-mail from his wife, Valerie Kaussen, from the hard-hit capital of Port-au-Prince.

Monika Fischer, a friend and colleague, said in an e-mail Thursday evening that Kaussen, a MU associate professor of French, “has posted a note on Facebook that she is OK,” but she did not post any pictures or details.

“We assume her laptop has no more power nor does her cell phone since there is no electricity. … Thus, we have no more contact,” Fischer said.

Kaussen’s apartment building was still standing, Fischer said. Kaussen was scheduled to come back Monday, Fischer said, but her family hopes she can return this weekend.

Kaussen was working with Friends of SODA, an acronym for a Haitian Creole phrase roughly meaning "neighbors talking together.” According to Fischer, Kaussen has been working with this agency for several years.

MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, in an e-mail Thursday to MU faculty and staff, said he and his wife, Anne Deaton, “were relieved to know that one of MU’s faculty members conducting research in Haiti is unharmed.” Another faculty member has yet to hear from her family in Port-au-Prince, Deaton said.

MU does not have any students enrolled from Haiti, Deaton said.

There was no additional information Thursday about efforts by Haitian native Flore Zephir, an MU French professor and chair of the department of Romance languages, to reach her two brothers in Port-au-Prince.



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