One day after a 7.0-level earthquake put Haiti in the national spotlight, Samuel Dalembert was still trying to get in touch with family members.
A native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the Sixers center was at a loss for words in the aftermath of a tragedy that reportedly may have claimed more than 100,000 lives.
“I feel almost helpless,” Dalembert said before scoring 12 points and pulling down 21 rebounds against the Knicks last night. “It’s so frustrating because there isn’t much I can do except to wait and find out details.”
Dalembert was born in Haiti in 1980 and moved to Montreal at the age of 14. But he still has a large amount of family and close friends in his home country. The big man said he received an e-mail from his father saying he was alright. His mother, grandmother and sister all live in Florida.
“I have so many relatives in Haiti I haven’t heard about,” said Dalembert. “My grandmother hasn’t been able to stop crying. I may have to get her some medication because she’s so upset. This earthquake isn’t something you plan for.”
The earthquake is being called the strongest in Haiti since 1770. That’s evident when looking at videotape of bodies lying in the street covered with tarps.
“The town looks completely blown up,” Dalembert said. “It’s terrible. So many people are dead. We don’t know the numbers. Wow, it’s just awful.”
Dalembert founded the Samuel Dalembert Foundation in 2007 to help with relief efforts in Haiti. This foundation will be incredibly vital in the coming months and years.
“We will rebuild, but the emotional toll will be hard to recover from,” Dalembert said. “I’m going to do everything I can to assist the people of my country.”