NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some people in New York’s Haitian community are mourning the loss of loved ones who were killed after an earthquake rocked in Haiti on Saturday morning.
On a sidewalk in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Helene Pierre wrapped her arms around her grandson, finding comfort in him after learning the earthquake killed her aunt Lola.READ MORE: 'Best Small Cities In America': New Jersey Communities Make Top 25
“I was shocked because I spoke to her at 6:23 [Saturday morning],” she told CBS2’s Cory James.
About two hours later, the powerful quake hit.
Pierre says her beloved 88-year-old family member had no time to escape.
“She was cooking in the back of the house at the time, so the house fell on her. She didn’t make it,” she said.
The force of Mother Nature mostly damaged the southern part of the country, but areas in the north were also rocked.
Brooklyn resident Enock Lubin is visiting Haiti, about 120 miles away from the epicenter of the earthquake.
“I call my little girl, Rhianna. I tell her, ‘Leave the house right now ’cause there’s an earthquake right now, leave, leave,'” he said.
It reminded him of the last big earthquake 11 years ago, which killed his wife and left him in pain.
“I lost my baby mama, the mother of my daughter,” Lubin said. “So that’s why we moved to Brooklyn … When I was thinking about her, the way she loved me, so that was really sad for me.”READ MORE: Man Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Children At Bronx Day Care Since 2018 Arrested
“We never got a moment to just take a breather,” said New York City Councilwoman Farah Louis.
Louis, who is Haitian-American and has family on the island, says the repeated trauma has impacted the local Haitian community.
Now, she is working with people in Haiti to help those here track down missing loved ones.
“We’re doing our due diligence to contact people from other towns and other communities to go out to where the earthquake happened to see if they can find folks for us,” she said.
A resource Pierre wishes she could have used. Instead, she is preparing to say goodbye to her aunt.
“It’s hard,” she said.
But old videos give her something to hold onto, a reminder of how important it is to cling to those we love.
Mayor Bill de Blasio reacted on Twitter, saying, “Absolutely devastating news. The people of Haiti are resilient but have endured far too much tragedy. We are working with community leaders to get immediate aid to Haiti. Chirlane and I are keeping our Haitian neighbors in New York and on the island in our thoughts and prayers.”
Louis says the mayor personally called her and expressed his condolences and offered support.
She says her office is providing grief counseling and accepting donations of water, PPE and medical supplies to send to Haiti.MORE NEWS: Overnight Gun Violence: 3 Men Shot In Queens, Innocent Woman Shot In Brooklyn, NYPD Says