Locals react to deadly Haiti earthquake amid political unrest in country

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SAN DIEGO — Local Haitian immigrants call Saturday morning’s deadly earthquake another blow to the country as political unrest continues to ensue. 

“It’s almost every day something bad arrive about the nation,” said Ephedouard Civile, who is from Haiti but now resides in San Diego.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake comes just weeks after Haiti’s president was assassinated at his home. Hundreds of people have died from the earthquake and the death toll continues to climb.
 
Civile said the devastation might not be so vast if the government enforced more earthquake resistant construction.

“They should keep eyes on the way they’re building,” he said. “I think today we wouldn’t lose all that human life.”

Jean Denis, a Haitian immigrant, said while his family back in Haiti is not hurt, but he worries for their safety as the country grapples with disaster.

“Right now in the hospitals, there’s no space to admit patients because more people are coming, more people are coming,” Denis said (translated from Spanish). “So what are they doing? They use the buses to put the patients and nurses and send them to the capital, and then the gangs take the buses with the patients and nurses.” 
 
Local Pastor Bill Jenkins says Haiti “simply cannot seem to get a break.”

Jenkins, who is also the director of Christ Ministries and Safe Harbors Networks, is often times the first smiling face many Haitian refugees see when they come to San Diego.
 
Alongside other organizations, he has helped thousands of refugees get settled in San Diego following the Haitian earthquake in 2010 that killed hundreds of thousands of people.
 
“99.9% of the people of the people that we’ve helped are here legally,” Jenkins said. “They’re not people who sneaked across the border, these are people who have court dates that they’re waiting for, and so we provide beds for them, clothing, food, shelter.”

More help is needed now during political unrest and the latest natural disaster.

Jenkins said it’s likely more Haitians will seek refuge in the U.S. and San Diego.
  
“What they are enduring right now is just inhumane,” he said.

Jenkins said the number one thing refugees need in San Diego is more open beds. Spare room and donations will help get people the help they need.

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