KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville couple is sharing their family members’ survival story. Many of their loved ones live in Haiti and were hit hard by a devastating weekend earthquake.
It was a 7.2 magnitude and the death toll has now reached close to 2,000. Among the survivors, are the parents and siblings of a Knoxville man. Everyone in his immediate family: parents, brother, and sisters are ok. However, some extended relatives didn’t make it.
The stark reality for those who did survive is that they’ve lost almost everything, including their home.
Jean-Bernard Faton says, “One side of their house is completely on the floor. I saw the roof on the ground, and then I saw a whole bunch of crumbles on the side too. I’m guessing it kind of just collapsed from the middle.”
The power earthquake rocked Haiti Saturday morning. It was a day filled with panic and worry for Faton and his wife in Knoxville.
His wife, Terjuna Minor-Faton, says, “I want to say it was early in the morning when we learned of the earthquake, and it wasn’t until early evening until we actually finally heard from one of his family members.”
Faton worried about how his family was going to get food, shelter and medical needs. “I’m sure some of them got injured, they’re definitely going to need medical relief somehow,” he said. “You think of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, if happens near your city, you can probably go to a nearby city and go to their hotel. That’s available to us here. But in Haiti sometimes it’s really hard to have access to those things.”
The couple says they’re now taking it day-by-day, trying to help out his loved ones and talking with them when they can make a connection.
“You could hear it in their voice that they’re going through a lot. And they don’t even know what the next steps are. They’re very defeated sometimes but they also have hope, to an extent, that things will get better eventually. But right now it’s just really difficult and really hard,” he said.
Faton and his wife are also holding on to hope, and sharing a message of empathy.
“These are people’s loved ones and these are fellow human beings that are suffering and enduring unimaginable circumstances. If nothing else, just being able to open your heart and understand that there’s devastation happening,” Minor-Faton said.
The Fatons have fundraisers set up to support their family’s relief and recovery efforts, including a GoFundMe.
‘A Kiss from Jesus Pudding & More’ is also sponsoring a meal fundraiser. That’s happening Sunday, August 22. Pickup begins at 4 p.m. at 1718 N. Central Street in Knoxville.
‘Kailey Tucker Photography’ is holding a raffle supporting the Faton family.