SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The pastor of a Normal Heights Haitian ministry is hoping to assemble a team of volunteers for a relief mission to his quake-ravaged homeland.
As the images of the devastation were broadcast Saturday, despair consumed Jean Elise Durandisse, the pastor at the Haitian Methodist Ministry.
“First thing, I said, ‘Not again.’ Haiti has suffered so much,” said Durandisse.
More than 11 years after a quake killed hundreds of thousands in Haiti, more tragedy visited the country in the form of Saturday’s magnitude 7.2 earthquake. Haitian officials reported Sunday nearly 1,300 people dead and more than 5,700 injured. More than 27,000 buildings have been destroyed and damaged.
“They feel like the land is shaking. Everything is shaking,” said Durandisse.
Durandisse said his cousin, Sadrac, who lives in the southern city of Les Cayes, was out with family during the quake and returned to find their home collapsed.
When Durandisse's call to them finally went through, the family's emotions left him shaking.
“I heard screaming in the background, crying. Just very emotional for them,” said Durandisse.
In all, Durandisse said he has five family members who lost homes. Several of them, like his cousin, also lost everything during the 2010 quake. Remarkably, all are alive and not hurt.
“I feel relieved. They are still alive. I thought they were dead,” said Durandisse. “Believe it or not, it's a miracle.”
As he prays for the victims, he is all too familiar with the prayers of the survivors. After the 2010 quake, his church helped in the effort to aid more than 2,000 Haitian refugees in San Diego.
“That makes me feel like I have to go,” said Durandisse.
Durandisse said he plans to assemble a team of volunteers to head for a relief mission in the next two weeks. He's started a fundraiser for relief supplies and costs. For more information on joining the relief mission, email Haitianchurchsd@gmail.com.
“I want to put my feet on the ground, to support, to pray, and to help,” said Durandisse.