Haiti earthquake: Naomi Osaka vows to give tournament prize money to relief effort

Naomi Osaka Haiti Earthquake

Tennis star Naomi Osaka has pledged her support to the people of Haiti after the country was struck by a catastrophic earthquake.

The 7.2 magnitude quake hit the country on Saturday morning, leaving more than 300 dead and 1,800 injured.

Osaka was born in Japan and has lived in the United States for most of her life. However, her father is Haitian and the four-time major winner said she “grew up in a Haitian household in New York.”

The world number two announced on Twitter that she plans to donate all of her winnings from next week’s Cincinnati Open to the Haiti relief effort.

“Really hurts to see all the devastation that’s going on in Haiti,” she said. “I feel like we can’t catch a break. I’m about to play a tournament this week and I’ll give all the prize money to relief efforts for Haiti. I know our ancestors’ blood is strong –– we’ll keep rising.”

The message references the country being unable to “catch a break” –– alluding to the devastating earthquake in 2010 which saw almost 250,000 people lose their lives.

Haiti was rocked again last month by the assassination of its president, Jovenel Moïse, who was shot dead when a gunman attacked his residence in Pèlerin 5, a district of Pétion-Ville.

Osaka’s donation, therefore, comes at a time of desperate need and the 23-year-old has been hailed as a hero by many online. Her tweet has accumulated more than 80,000 likes so far, as well as 11,000 retweets.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden also announced in a statement that the United States are offering their support to Haiti in this time of crisis.

“Through USAID, we are supporting efforts to assess the damage and assist efforts to recover those who were injured and those who must now rebuild. The United States remains a close and enduring friend to the people of Haiti, and we will be there in the aftermath of this tragedy.”

The United States Agency for International Development said in a statement on Sunday night that it was sending an “elite” Disaster Assistance Response Team to assess the damage, identify the greatest needs and coordinate humanitarian efforts.

Miami FC also tweeted that it was looking for ways to help, writing: “Miami FC is currently working with local agencies to find ways to assist with relief efforts.”

Osaka starts her campaign at the Cincinnati Open next week and has received a bye through to round two.

The total prize money for the tournament is $1,835,490, with the winner set to win $255,220.

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