Reaching Haiti earthquake victims at the end of the road

Astrelle’s harrowing story of rescuing her elderly parents from the rubble

The terrifying moment the magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Haiti’s southern peninsula on Aug. 14, 55-year-old Astrelle was outside the home she shares with her nine family members, including her elderly disabled parents, daughter, and infant grandson. Astrelle was getting ready to go to the market when the earth started to shake.

Mercifully, just minutes before the quaking began, her grandbaby, who was sleeping inside the house, woke up and began to cry. The baby’s mother had gone inside and brough him out. But Astrelle’s parents were still asleep inside…

Astrelle’s first instinct was to run inside the house to get her parents out, but she was thrown down by the earth moving, hitting and injuring her head on the ground. She looked up and saw the walls of the house starting to collapse with her parents inside.

One of those walls crumbled, burying her parents beneath the rubble. Miraculously, they were still alive.

“After the tremor we had to pull them out from under the rubble and they were both injured.”

Astrelle’s mother recovers from her injuries inside the family’s badly damaged house.

“After the tremor we had to pull them out from under the rubble and they were both injured,” Astrelle said, recounting the chaos after the quake. Unable to take her parents to the hospital, she did her best to treat their injuries herself.

Despite the extensive damage to the home, the family felt they had no alternative but to sleep inside while Tropical Storm Grace dumped rain on southern Haiti. Caring neighbors gave Astrelle some salvaged metal sheets and tarps to help protect them from the storm.

Astrelle’s family lives in a small remote village, located near the epicenter of the earthquake. It’s barely accessible by road and the village itself is more than half a mile from any road. The World Concern team was the first to reach the village to assess the damage and their needs.

“This is the first time since the earthquake that an organization has come to visit us…”

Astrelle stands outside her home, where collapsed walls have been replaced by tarps in an effort to protect the family from rain.

“This is the first time since the earthquake happened that an organization has come to visit us,” said Astrelle’s daughter. “Hurricane Matthew had severely damaged our house, and no one helped us. We repaired it with our own means, but now the situation is beyond us and we don’t know what to do if no one comes to our rescue.”

If you would like to support World Concern’s earthquake response and recovery efforts in Haiti and give emergency supplies, food, water, tarps, and rebuilding assistance to families like Astrelle’s, you can donate online at

Published by

Cathy Herholdt

Cathy Herholdt is World Concern's Senior Communications Director. With a background in journalism, Cathy honed her writing skills as a newspaper editor and now enjoys sharing the inspiring stories of those World Concern serves. She has served with World Concern since 2010.