haiti earthquake relief
A woman stands in front of a destroyed home in the aftermath of an earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Duples Plymouth)

When he woke up Saturday to news of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake hitting Haiti, Edwin Raymond immediately knew he wanted to help the relief effort— as he had done in the past. Raymond, a Brooklyn-based NYPD lieutenant, led a team of first responders to Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, a 2016 storm that killed more than 900 people. 

“The most important thing is to get people from underneath the rubble,” said Raymond, who hopes to assemble more than a dozen responders for a relief trip. “I’m hoping we get a good team together and we can get there as soon as possible.”

As day turned to dusk Saturday, assessments of the damage and human toll from government officials trickled in at a pace much slower than images of the dead, which flooded social media channels. Haitian Americans like Raymond watched, reached out to relatives or began to plan relief efforts within their circles. Numerous emergency community action meetings took place, mostly virtually through Zoom, as leaders tried to mobilize an organized response.

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Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America corps member. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Haiti Liberte. Sam can be reached at sam@haitiantimes.com or on Twitter @sambojarski.