Haitian woman in the Triad thankful her family is safe after devastating earthquake

Piedmont Triad News

BURLINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — After a 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked the island of Haiti over the weekend, one Triad woman is thankful her family is safe.

Djosen Vilmor moved to the U.S. from Haiti in 2002.  She’s a familiar face in Alamance County.  She owns King Queen Caribbean Bar and Grill with her brother.  The food truck turned restaurant serves up food from their roots.

When she logged on to Facebook Saturday, she couldn’t believe what she saw.

“I could see on my phone it was like children they’re pulling out and as a mother it just broke my heart,” Vilmor said.

Videos filled her feed of crumbled buildings and people being pulled from the rubble.

However, the faces flashing through her mind as she scrolled were of her uncles, aunts and cousins still in Haiti.

When she finally got ahold of a family friend, they told her they felt the shake, but they were safe.

“In Haiti, it’s just every time they take 10 steps forward, it’s like 1,000 steps back, so it just makes you feel frustrated,” Vilmor said.

She’s also watched the impact the 2010 earthquake, multiple hurricanes, and political unrest has taken on her family.

“It’s heartbreaking, it’s just heartbreaking,” Vilmor said.

Woodson Simon, with the Triad Haitian Community Association, is no stranger to the area hit hardest by the earthquake.

“When you don’t have the resource, and you to try to reach every person that you can, that’s the hardest part,” Simon said.  “Haiti doesn’t have a lot of resources when those things happen.”

Simon visited back in 2017 after Hurricane Matthew devastated the area.

“The same part to get hit again, you know when I heard that I said, wow, you cannot describe it,” Simon said.

Vilmor is still worried about the tropical storm approaching the country, or the possibility of a typhoon.

Vilmor’s uncle is traveling from Port-au-Prince to the epicenter to lend a hand in search and rescue efforts.  He told Vilmor even though he doesn’t have any money to help the people there, if he can save a life it’s worth it.

Vilmor tries to keep in mind how strong her family members and Haitians are.

“Even though you see most of the time we are divided, when something major happens, we all come together, and we all help,” Vilmor said.

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