Haitian family reacts after deadly earthquake

Dafney Tales-Lafortune and her husband Andre have family in Haiti.

DURHAM, N.C. — The death toll from Saturday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti stands at 1,297 people and more than 5,700 injured. This comes as people in the Triangle anxiously wait to hear from their family members on the island.


What You Need To Know

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Saturday

More than 1,200 people were killed, over 5,700 injured

One Durham family is still waiting to hear from their family in Haiti


Dafney Tales-Lafortune and her husband Andre live in Durham, but they both have family in Haiti. They say it’s been difficult to get a hold of their loved ones because the cell towers are often overloaded after a natural disaster like this. The husband and wife say this recent earthquake is all too similar to the one that hit in 2010, and the country’s infrastructure has not improved much since then.

“I felt like we should have been better prepared,” Andre Lafortune said. “As far as a response, having equipment that can remove the rubble, because I see on TV people trying to rescue people with bare hands and try to remove big concrete. We should not be in that position.”

They add the recent assassination of Haiti’s president creates an even more difficult situation as Haitians desperately wait for help from the government.

“It’s really tough for Haitians after the assassination and then this,” Andre Lafortune said. “After a lot of bad things, good things come out. That’s what I’m hoping for.”

“They are capable of providing the resources and whatever else is needed for these types of situations, but the fact that we’re seeing such a lack of that in the wake of this earthquake is very telling,” Dafney Tales-Lafortune said.

“It just feels like we can’t catch a break. ‘Nou pa ka wen repo,’ which means you’re not able to have peace,” Dafney Tales-Lafortune said. “I mean one thing I will say about our people, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it, we’re resilient and strong. But the types of tests we’re experiencing, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else.”

The country’s prime minister declared a one-month long state of emergency and the United States is sending a team of 65 people to help with search and rescue efforts. Meanwhile, an aid group based out of Boone announced it would fly 13 disaster response specialists and 31 tons of emergency supplies to Haiti.

Dafney Tales-Lafortune says it’s important to research organizations before any donations are made. The couple owns a Haitian food truck, Bon Fritay, and they plan to post reputable places for donations on their website.

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