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'It broke my heart' | Navy veteran in Norfolk tries to help family in Haiti after earthquake

Yasmin Charles said one of her cousins died as result of the earthquake.

NORFOLK, Va. — An earthquake in Haiti that has killed at least 1,200 people and injured thousands of others, hits close to home for Yasmin Charles. 

Charles, of Norfolk, was born in Haiti. After seeing the destruction caused by the earthquake, she wants to return to help her family and others in Haiti. 

"I was crying. We've been at this before in 2010, and to see this happening once again in Haiti, It's a nightmare," she said.  "It broke my heart. It broke my heart." 

Charles is able to communicate with family members through social media, which is how she learned one of her family members was killed. 

"I have relatives in Port-au-Prince, but my mom's family is actually from that little village where the earthquake took place. And so my aunt told me one of her cousins passed away from one of the hotels that crashed yesterday," said Charles. 

Charles' cousin was Jean Gabriel Fortuné, who was the former mayor of Les Cayes, a badly damaged coastal area in Haiti. 

"It's one tragedy after another, after another after another and it's like Haitian people cannot get a break," said Charles. 

Charles was born and raised in Haiti and moved to the United States at 12 years old. She served in the United States Navy and currently works with the homeless community in Hampton Roads.

Now, she wants to help her community back home in Haiti. 

"I'm willing to go over there to translate to help with any time that I have with the Red Cross. Anything I can do, I would be happy to go over there and support," said Charles. 

Charles said she is staying strong and wants others to help Haiti.

"All I have is hope. All I have is hope, and we're going to bounce back. That's all I know," said Charles. 

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