Lady Gaga’s opening act, Jason Derulo , has ties to Haiti — his uncle Carrefour Fequidre was in Port-au-Prince when the 7.0 earthquake devastated the city. In the days since the earthquake, Derulo explained that his uncle witnessed unspeakable tragedies — but he was thankful to learn that his uncle had made it back to the States and was safe in Miami.
“He went there for vacation and he just went there at the wrong time,” Derulo, a Haitian-American, told MTV News. “Three days with no food and no water and a whole week without being under a roof, sleeping outside. Just madness. He was telling my mother about the stench and how it smells of death on the streets. It’s just a terrible catastrophe.”
Fequidre managed to escape without injury. “He was actually in a building, but when there’s an earthquake, the first thing you’re supposed to do is either go to a hallway or out of the building, and he got out of the building,” Derulo explained. “And the whole house was totaled — the house is completely destroyed and luckily he’s OK … from time to time he [could] call. I’m not sure where he [was] calling from … from time to time, we [got] a phone call every couple of days. I don’t know where he [was] calling from.”
Derulo is thankful that Fequidre is safe. “He just came into the States and he cannot stop crying. He’s back in Miami now and my mom said he cannot stop crying. He’s fine, but he’s seen so much — to see children lying dead on the floor, it must be horrific, unexplainable.”
Derulo hopes that more people donate to the cause — he’s been putting on smaller club shows to help benefit UNICEF. ” My mom made sure that I was with [a charity] that she’s worked with in the past, so she wanted me to go with UNICEF,” Derulo offered. “I’ve been doing a couple of shows and stuff and all the proceeds go to Haiti. I’ve already raised thousands of dollars so far.”
And he thinks that the celebrity contributions, like his tourmate Lady Gaga’s proceeds from Sunday’s Monster Ball show , are a great way to raise awareness. “I’m really proud how the celebrities have kind of come together, especially Wyclef . I mean, he’s always been very, very instrumental in charities for Haiti, but he has really, really stepped up,” he said. “I mean, going there and carrying dead bodies personally, it says so much about a person. He deserves to be looked up to — that’s a heroic act.
“It’s imperative that we donate as much money as we can. I know that the airborne illness is going to start spreading. We need to get people out of Haiti as quickly as possible,” he continued. “They’re still so low on supplies and the main thing is just getting the funds there.”
Head here to learn more about what you can do to help with earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti, and for more information, see Think MTV. Join George Clooney and Wyclef Jean for MTV’s “Hope for Haiti” telethon, airing commercial-free Friday, January 22, at 8 p.m. ET.