After a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on the 12th of August, official reports have confirmed the death of at least 1,297 people and thousands of others have been missing feared dead. The misery doesn’t stop here as more than 5,700 people have been injured as well as thousands of structures including homes, schools, roads turned to rubble.
The Caribbean nation was still reeling from the assassination of their President Jovenel Moise last month in his home by a team of gunmen, shaking a country already battling poverty, ever-increasing gang violence, and Covid-19.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said that the epicenter of the earthquake was about 12km away from the town of Saint-Louis du Sud. The tremors and the aftershocks were so powerful that they could be felt in the densely populated capital of Port-au-Prince, some 125km away, and in neighboring countries of Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
In terms of infrastructure damage, Haiti’s civil protection agency informed that some 13,600 buildings were destroyed and over 13,700 damaged, trapping hundreds under rubble and leaving more than 5,700 people injured.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry declared a month-long state of emergency and pledged to “mobilize all the resources of my administration to help victims,” along with that he informed that, “We want to plan a better-adapted response than in 2010 after the earthquake…….all aid coming from abroad should be coordinated by the Civil Protection agency”.
However, the problems don’t stop here for the small country as there have been forecasts of a tropical storm ‘Grace’ approaching the coast of Haiti raising the fears of torrential rainfall, flash floods and mudslides from late Monday or early Tuesday.
The condition of the healthcare system is so bad that the hospitals have run out of bed and the doctors are forced to provide treatment to patients on hospital stretchers placed under trees, and on mattresses along the roadside.
The international community is also on its feet and pledged to provide aid to Haiti with
The US has deployed a 65-person urban search and rescue team equipped with “specialized tools, equipment & medical supplies,” to join an earthquake disaster response team already in Haiti.
The Dominican Republic has sent a team of 250 doctors along with 10,000 food rations and medical equipment. Mexico also sent an aid shipment. Cuba and Ecuador dispatched medical or search-and-rescue teams with Chile, Argentina, Peru and Venezuela also offering help with the United Nations.