When the 2010 earthquake struck Haiti, Jean was terrified. At the time she was 12 years old and she had never experienced an earthquake before. The day was normal and Jean was on her way home from school. She was looking forward to watching her favorite show when everything started to shake. Jean cried for Jesus to save her. When the shaking stopped Jean looked out upon all the dead bodies around her in the rubble, Jean was frustrated and scared.
Like many other children following the earthquake Jean was afraid to sleep in her home, there were cracks in the house and she was afraid of being crushed in her sleep.
“We spent several nights in the open air under the stars the time we found shelter”. - Jean Felix Ketlyne
Now, 11 years later on the morning of August 14th another earthquake strikes Les Cayes, Haiti and people like Jean are reliving a devastating experience.
When this recent earthquake struck, a friend in Les Cayes named Ashley Wojton searched frantically for her child who was now experiencing their first major earthquake just like Jean did 11 years ago.
“When the TV fell off my TV stand I knew this was really serious. I started yelling for my son, ran down the stairs while the house was still shaking, it felt like it was shaking forever. I kept calling for him and couldn’t find him and then I finally found him playing in the yard. He was screaming” - Ashley Wojton
The whole experience is terrifying for everyone, regardless of age. Ashley and her family spent two days sleeping in her car to be safe from potential aftershocks.
“It’s very hard to stay in a house after a major earthquake, you don’t know if the next one is going to be a 7.8 or a 5” - Ashley Wojton
When asked about helping Ashley says some people are setting up clinics, and many organizations are sending people to help, though she is not sure if everyone is getting exactly what they need. There are a lot of smaller communities outside of Les Cayes that are not getting as much attention.
“Tents, tents, tents, tents, everybody is looking for tents! Not only because people are afraid to sleep inside but also because a lot of houses are going to take a long time to rebuild or fix. Tents are going to be the way of life for some people before they can really get back into their house” - Ashley Wojton
Many Haitians are struggling for safety and shelter. Gangs are running the streets outside of the Les Cayes community making providing help and traveling to safety even more difficult for everyone in Haiti. Making things worse after the initial earthquake there have been several smaller aftershocks that are reaching 4.9 on the Richter scale.
When mentioning all of the tragic things that have been happening in Haiti Ashley had a lot to say.
“In Haiti it’s starting to feel like everytime we get up we get knocked down. You get your things together, you fix your house, some of which people have been working on for generations. And the next thing you know everything is all gone in the matter of seconds. You cannot ever move forward because there is catastrophe after catastrophe. I think it’s causing a lot of hopelessness, especially after the presidents assassanation and the last year of COVID-19. There’s no escape, everything is hitting Haiti like waves”. - Ashley Wojton
Unlike the United States, Haiti’s infrastructure is not as sound and cannot handle these earthquakes. Haiti’s older, underdeveloped infrastructure is painfully stressed to its breaking point. Additionally, wealthier nations have larger and better services and response teams that help mitigate loss and injury from tragedies like earthquakes; for example, Police, Fireman, FEMA and private companies such as Property and Casualty Insurance all are in place to help the people, while Haiti lacks this infrastructure and personal support.
When something like this happens it is important that we come together to create a positive impact and help those who are struggling. A large portion of our ShareYourself community. Several Haitian members of the ShareYourself community have begun fundraising efforts to help those in Les Cayes. Below I will list several of the projects that could use your support.
Disaster Relief for my Ancestral Hometown in Haiti
Pierre Patrick Marie is a Haitian ShareYourself project creator who needs support rebuilding his community that was destroyed after the recent earthquake.With the funds Pierre will purchase and donate relief items to others around him in his community. Pierre is seeking $3,000
Disaster Relief Haiti Earthquake
Herline Raphael is a Haitian ShareYourself project creator. She is raising $5,000 to help those in need in Haiti. Her top priority is to provide emergent medical relief, treat and coordinate mobile clinics in remote disaster areas. We will be treating serious trauma cases, fractured limbs, skin and wound infections.