Dalembert feels helpless about earthquake in Haiti

Posted: January 13, 2010

Samuel Dalembert had participated in a clinic for a group of youngsters, and run some errands before he heard the news on Tuesday.

The 76ers center learned via a message left on his cell phone that an earthquake earlier in the day had devastated his home country of Haiti.

"I feel so helpless that I have not been able to do anything," said Dalembert, a native of Port-au-Prince who has been active in raising funds to help poverty-stricken Haiti. "My father was able to e-mail me, but I haven't had any other contact yet to know how everybody is."

In addition to his father, Dalembert has a 15-year-old brother, a 16-year old sister and other family members from his father's side who are dealing with the aftermath of the strongest earthquake to hit Haiti in 200 years. Dalembert's mother, grandmother and another sister reside in Florida.

Dalembert said he spoke to his grandmother by phone yesterday, and he said she was so upset that he had to call a doctor to attend to her. The grandmother, Hypromene Charle, raised Dalembert until his joined his parents in Montreal at age 14.

Now in his eighth season with the Sixers, Dalembert founded the Samuel Dalembert Foundation in 2007. The organization, which is based in Bala Cynwyd, teams with UNICEF, the Red Cross and Feed the Children to support relief efforts in Haiti. The foundation is also is focused on the HIV problem in Haiti.

Dalembert's next project was to build and operate the Dalembert Academy in the country, which will house both a school and a training facility. But this week's earthquake no doubt will delay that plan as Dalembert considers how to help out in the current situation in Haiti.

Last August, Dalembert went back to his homeland.

"Some things have progressed, and some have not," he said. "It was sad."

Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at 215-854-2583 or ktatum@phillynews.com.

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