Cedar Rapids woman from Haiti organizing efforts to help victims of earthquake

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 6:27 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A Cedar Rapids woman from Haiti has heard firsthand from family about the current situation there and is putting her own efforts together to help.

Esther Pascal says she was devastated after hearing the news of the 7.2 earthquake this weekend. Then, the impacts from Tropical Storm grace immediately after.

“Why are all these things happen to Haiti,” Pascal said. “I cried. It’s killing me inside. In 2010, we had a big earthquake. 2021, our president got killed, and we dealing with COVID-19.”

Pascal said that’s led to a lack of room in hospitals and medical supplies. It’s something her husband’s dad is battling there.

“His dad is not feeling too good, and they tried to go to a hospital, but all the hospitals are basically full,” Pascal said.

Pascal said that communication is tough. The only family she’s spoken to is her niece, who’s taking care of her husband’s father.

“I wanted to help to go and help, but because of the security, and a lot of killings, I’m scared to go,” Pascal said.

Still, Pascal and her husband are making the trip the second week in September. In the meantime, they’re making plans to gather donations to send prior.

“Right now, the biggest needs are medical supplies, like IV’s, syringes, and water, and food,” Pascal said.

Pascal is working with local businesses and hospitals, including UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital where she works, to place donation boxes where people can drop things off.

It’s her first time organizing efforts for a disaster of this magnitude. However, she tries to give back every year.

“I send big stuff to Haiti for my auntie to give to churches,” Pascal said.

Pascal said she does it because she knows even before the earthquake firsthand the struggles people in Haiti experience.

“That motivates me to help people in need, like kids who need to go to school. I help them. People that need a place to stay, I can pay six months’ rent for them,” Pascal said.

Pascal is hoping to get help from the community to bring in donations. People can reach out to her at (319) 206-2666 or via her email.

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