San Diego’s Haitian community is grappled with a mix of shock and grief following the news of a powerful earthquake that devastated their home country.
“My sister who lives in Tijuana called me this morning to tell me something horrible had happened at home,” said Jean Denis, Haitian refugee living in City Heights.
Denis was born and raised in Les Cayes, one of the hardest-hit cities by the powerful 7.2 earthquake.
“We called and called and they wouldn’t answer,” said Denis.
Eventually, Denis would receive notice that his family was safe at a nearby shelter. As for his childhood home, that was gone.
“It’s a home I will never forget,” said Dennis.
The full extent of the damage and casualties is not yet known. To make matters worse Denis says there’s no more room in the hospitals.
The reports of overwhelmed hospitals come as Haiti continues to struggle with the pandemic. And the earthquake comes just over a month after the nation’s president was killed, leaving many to feel the nation can’t catch a break.
“Everything is happening at once,” said Denis.
Haiti is a country known to be vulnerable to earthquakes. It was struck by a magnitude 5.9 earthquake in 2018 that killed more than a dozen people and a 7.1 quake in 2010 that killed an estimated 300,000 people.