Aug. 24, 2021 — Steeve Verdieu was at his workstation in his bedroom when the shaking started the morning of Aug. 14. He jumped under his desk and held on as a 7.2-magnitude earthquake tore through his childhood home in southern Haiti.

Verdieu, 25, says all he could think about was 2010, when a strong earthquake hit the country and left more than 200,000 people dead.

“Most of these adults that are in their mid-20s and 30s have vivid memories,” according to John Fitts, assistant director of Sent To Serve. He started working in the nonprofit sector in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

“I can’t even relate to it,” Fitts says. “If you didn’t live through it, you cannot relate.”

Verdieu emerged to find his family alive and his home in crumbles.

“In the neighborhood, we have only one child who died the day of the earthquake, but mentally, everybody feels bad,” he says. “Also, we are really frustrated right now because it tends to rain, and everybody is outside right now. So, we are a little bit afraid.”

Verdieu says that his community has not seen or heard of government authorities coming to offer guidance on next steps.

So, he started posting photos and videos to his Twitter account to seek help.

Surviving to Heal

Many Haitians are forced to quickly turn the page after major crises, says Fitts.

“Survival overrides emotional shock,” he says. “They’re not going to have time. They’re not going to think emotional wellness at this point. It’s not addressed because they don’t have the opportunity to address it. So, it gets buried.”

More rural areas of Haiti were hit hardest by the recent earthquake, which killed over 2,000 people.

Many people were left without shelter and had limited access to food, clean drinking water, and medical help for those severely injured.

But current problems in Haiti, like shaky leadership after the recent assassination of the country’s president, left many people with no direction on what to do next.