Cynthia was born and raised in Haiti. When she was 10 years old, she moved the United States, but some of her family remained behind. It’s been 5 years since the massive earthquake devastated Haiti- we spoke to Cynthia to find out how her family were affected by the tragedy.
On January 12th 2010 an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 hit very close to the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. At the time, Cynthia was living in the United States and recalls the difficulties she faced in trying to contact her family back in Haiti. “We couldn’t call them when it happened because there was no communication whatsoever. We were just watching the news. I have family in the Dominican Republic too and they were telling people what was going on there. There was no communication in Haiti when it happened.” It was a nerve-racking time for her entire family.
In the following days, over 52 aftershocks were felt on the island, hindering the efforts of aid workers on the ground.
Cynthia remembers how her family were helped by charities such as the Red Cross and The Haven Partnership; “I do think they had a lot of support actually because people were donating left and right and it was all over the world news. People were very concerned. The aid workers got my family food over there. They had a food pantry and people were able to get all the stuff they needed.”
People continue to struggle with the impact of the earthquake to this day. There’s still a huge number of buildings in need of repair and people displaced from their homes. Cynthia’s Aunt has refused to return to her house following the earthquake as she is too traumatised, she doesn’t see the point in rebuilding it.
The situation in Haiti is still very difficult for the people living there as infrastructure remains poor, there is limited access to education and there are very few opportunities for employment. For Cynthia, this is very worrying “People are just suffering if they don’t have people abroad to send them support. They are basically on their own and they’re tired.” This is very different from the Haiti which Cynthia knew as a child, a time which she speaks fondly of.
Cynthia visits Haiti occasionally, with the last time being two years ago, but with Ding she is able to speak to her family daily.
‘Haiti Week’ is taking place in Ireland this week. Charities across the country are working to raise awareness and raise funds for the Haitians. Ding is a proud supportor of The Haven Partnership which was set up in 2009 to provide shelter, clean water, training and education for Haitians affected by the earthquake.