Romel Edmond: Haiti’s Earthquake Hits Close to Home
When a devastating 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January, Americans with family members or friends who lived there were anxiously awaiting news regarding the safety of their loved ones. Among them was Romel Edmond, a senior at California State University, Dominguez Hills.
“I remember being in a sort of catatonic state during the first couple of days, bracing myself and anticipating phone calls about dead family members,” recalls the English major. “Phone lines were down due to the earthquake so communication was impossible in the days after the earthquake. We found out by the second day of the aftermath that my uncle was visiting his kids in Miami, which was a relief because he lives in Jacmel, which was hit the hardest. We found out my other uncle [in Port-au-Prince] was alive a couple days after the earthquake because my cousin saw his picture on TV. CNN had a section on their website for family members to find one another and they showed it on television. It was a big relief when I went online and saw his picture.”
Edmond’s parents and older brother moved to the United States from Port-au-Prince before he was born. Although his uncles in Haiti have the resources to recover, Edmond says that his family is acquainted with many who do not.
“My family made it out better than others, and for that I am happy,” he says. “They are well-off by Haitian standards and can take care of themselves financially. Others are not so well-off. My mom knows a woman with kids she used to send money to every so often to help them out financially.”
Edmond says that disasters like the Haitian earthquake are a wake-up call for other nations to rise up in occasions of need as “a global community.”
“Try to imagine what it would be like if your city was destroyed, including your home and hospitals, and empathize with [the] Haitians,” he says. “When natural disasters strike like they did in Haiti, it is an opportunity for the global community to show our ability to preserve life.”
Edmond is involved with the Haiti Relief Venture, an organization that will benefit victims of the Haiti earthquake. For more information, contact him at romel@romel-edmond com.
- Joanie Harmon