Haiti native living in Hampton Roads says her home country can’t take any more tragedy


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Haiti native who now lives in Hampton Roads wants people to know that her home country isn’t only suffering physically right now following a massive earthquake, but mentally.

The country of just over 11 million people in the Caribbean Sea has seen its fair share of tragedy recently. Besides dealing with the global COVID-19 pandemic, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in early July.

The recent 7.2-magnitude earthquake plunged the country deep into crisis. As of Thursday, the Associated Press reported more than 2,100 people dead and thousands more injured.

Yasmine Charles, a former U.S. Navy sailor who was born and raised in Haiti, said the hits just keep coming.

“Another earthquake? Another earthquake? 12 years later,” Charles said in an interview earlier this week. “All I have right now is hope that the world leaders will step up and help us once again.”

The Norfolk-based USS Arlington left Tuesday for Haiti and local nonprofits and businesses in Hampton Roads are also pitching in to help.

Charles said her mother has a cousin who was killed in a hotel collapse and still had family sleeping in the streets out of fear of aftershocks.

“I know we are resilient. I remember back in 2010, seeing my people singing and chanting down the streets. Despite the tragedy, despite the dead bodies and everything else,” Charles said. “I don’t know how we will bounce back up again. But we will stand up again that’s all I know.”

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