Tuesday afternoon’s earthquake in Haiti measured seven on the Richter scale, but the tragedy it created is incalculable. Yet as cries of “Amwe! Amwe!” — ”Help me!” in Creole — were reported heard in the rubble of a primary school in a Port-au-Prince neighborhood, already Vineyarders of all ages were doing what they could to answer the call.

Carrying funds and supplies for the quilting cooperatives they helped to form a few years ago, Jeanne Staples of Edgartown and her PeaceQuilts colleague Maureen Matthews McClintock were at Boston’s Logan airport, waiting to board the first of their flights to Haiti, when news of the quake broke. Unaware of the scope of the ruin, American Airlines suggested the Miami-Port-au-Prince flight would be delayed one day.

“We were going to assist in the progress of some of our newly formed cooperatives, now with nearly 50 members,” Ms. Staples wrote to supporters. “Chief among these is a new cooperative in Cité Soleil, a wretched slum in the best of circumstances, which appears to be one of the worst hit sections of Port-au-Prince. This co-op was being organized by Nadege Florian, who visited the United States last fall for the opening of the exhibition of quilts at the Bennington Museum, and who is pro filed in our book Patience to Raise the Sun. We are desperate to make sure she is all right.”

At about 3 a.m. Thursday, Ms. Staples learned Ms. Florian and her family were alive. “It’s been kind of crazy, but after we heard that there was a little celebration,” Ms. Staples said yesterday, back in Edgartown.

PeaceQuilts grew out of the work Margaret Pénicauld began a decade ago with the Martha’s Vineyard Fish Farm for Haiti Project, a few acres of land in a poor rural area outside of Port-au-Prince that was undeveloped until a decade ago when local fund-raising efforts began; now there is a school, a well, five ponds where talapia are raised and harvested, a coop for a hundred hens, vegetable gardens and a PeaceQuilts cooperative.

With more than half Haiti’s communications wiped out in the devastating earthquake, Mrs. Pénicauld is among the many Americans unable to confirm the welfare of friends and colleagues there.

“We are in the shock of the aftermath of Haiti’s gigantic tragedy,” she wrote yesterday in reply to calls from the Gazette and many other Islanders offering help. “We still have not heard from or about any of the Sisters that we work with. We do not know the state of our project (the Fish Farm for Haiti Project) in Lilavois, just outside Port-au-Prince. We have only heard that the area of Canapé Vert where the Mother House of the Daughters of Mary Queen Immaculate is located was one of the areas that suffered the most damage. Please pray with us for them and for all those who are victims of this earthquake.”

She directed offers of help to relief organizations such as the Red Cross. “Those are the organizations which are doing the most immediate good and are saving lives. When the immediate crisis settles there will be a huge need for long-term relief and support. The Fish Farm for Haiti Project volunteers are focusing on what we can do to raise funds for long-term, further down the road relief.”

Mrs. Pénicauld had heard that her niece, Gwendolyn Mayhew, a nurse in the Navy, is being shipped to Haiti on Saturday.

Benjamin Brisson, a 2003 graduate of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, was one of the first pilots into Port-au-Prince. Based in Puerto Rico with American Eagle for the winter, Mr. Brisson left at 1 p.m. Thursday with a planeload of water, rice and emergency supplies from the Red Cross. While on the ground, Haitian president Rene Preval spoke with Mr. Brisson, telling the pilot that his own home was gone. “Benjamin was very proud to be there, and he said the airport operations seemed very organized already,” his mother, Joan Parzanese, said yesterday from Edgartown.

Before the earthquake Mrs. Pénicauld had asked the Vineyard Transit Authority for a secondhand bus that could be restored to good working condition, then filled to the hilt with the much-needed medical equipment, medications and supplies, and then shipped to Haiti. “The bus could become a medical clinic on wheels that visiting doctors could work out of,” she wrote. “We will be hearing back from the VTA after their next board meeting. In any case we know we will need funds to ship containers, to help reconstruct damaged buildings, and to help in any way to rebuild and restore the lives of those who have been affected by this tragedy.”

In West Tisbury, Karen Flynn, who travels to Haiti twice a year as part of her work for Haitian Outreach, supplying backpacks stocked with school supplies and sponsorship that makes it possible for children to attend school there, was not sure yesterday whether the latest shipment of packs would be delivered, nor whether the schools had been affected. “My heart is in Haiti 24 hours a day every day of the year,” she said. Warmed by the many American friends who had called her for news, she had little information about all her Haitian friends.

West Tisbury’s Dorie McCullough Lawson and Tim Lawson are deeply involved with an orphanage in Port-au-Prince which is home to 27 children, run by Fr. Jean Bien-Aime. The couple reported to friends on Wednesday that Father Bien-Aime and the children survived the earthquake. “How this is possible is hard to imagine as they were so close to the epicenter and the orphanage building is a total loss. One worker, Merlange, and one child, Roselande, are injured. Somehow the entire group made it several miles from the orphanage to the yard of Fr. Bien-Aime’s cousin. This is where they are today. They cannot go inside any buildings because no structures are safe. They have no food, no water and no medical care,” the Lawsons wrote. Wishforhaiti.org is its Web site.

This Vineyard has many ties with Haiti, a country the size of Maryland and the poorest country in the hemisphere. When Haiti’s minister of women’s affairs spoke last July at the Oak Bluffs library, she was asked why had she come here. Marie Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue answered, “We are both Islands. You have helped us, and over all the years you have never tried to take advantage of us.”

“There is a real circle between the people,” Ms. Staples said yesterday, “and for good reason.” She cited the character of the people of the Vineyard, who are motived to take action when they see the character of the Haitian people who are “so warm and so eager to better their lives and education, working hard, you cannot help but be inspired.”

From the Tisbury School to the Oak Bluffs Senior Center to the Federated Church, Islanders over the years have actively assisted the efforts of PeaceQuilts (haitipeacequilts.org). Actively and casually, as last-minute local shoppers buying crafts at the PeaceCraft Holiday shop and benefits, at Featherstone Center for the Arts, at tennis tournaments and schools, Islanders have supported the Haitian Fish Farm Project. One Brazilian Island resident noted that Brazilians also have a presence in Haiti; according to one report, some 9,000 peacekeepers have been in Haiti since 2004, including 1,266 Brazilians.

Like many others, the Gazette posted an appeal on its Facebook page Wednesday and watched it multiply. More than $2 million had been raised as of yesterday through a variety of social networking sites.

Much more will be needed, and though far away, the impact will continue to hit home on the Vineyard.