Death toll from Haiti’s earthquake reaches 2,207 and counting
Haitian authorities Sunday released an update of the consequences of the Aug. 14 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, according to which the death toll has reached 2,207.
Haiti’s Civil Protection (HCP) service also reported that over 50,000 homes have been destroyed and 344 people remain missing after the seism which has so far left 12,268 people injured.
New bodies have been found in the south, said an HCP statement. The previously reported toll was 2,189 dead.
The United Nations estimates that more than 1 million people were affected by the latest crisis to hit the Caribbean island country. Tens of thousands of houses have been reduced to rubble, rendering their inhabitants homeless. But while these people need urgent humanitarian assistance, efforts to deliver food, water and medical supplies have been hindered by nature’s doings as well as by attacks on aid convoys.
We have a security problem that is becoming more and more serious, said HCP Director Jerry Chandler. Since early June, a two-kilometre (1.2 miles) stretch of highway running to the southwest peninsula from Port-au-Prince has been unsafe to travel, amid persistent gang violence in a desperately poor neighbourhood of the capital. We’re literally facing a problem of banditry, and we’re working flat out with the police, who are sending reinforcements to the south, Chandler said.
The quake was centred near the town of Petit-Trou-de-Nippes, about 125 kilometres west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 10 kilometres, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The country has been going from bad to worse since President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his home on July 7. Haiti also went through a similar earthquake 11 years ago.
Frustration over the pace of aid has been rising for days and has been illustrated by the growing number of people crowding together at aid distribution sites. But since Friday reports of stealing kept piling up.
Complicating aid matters, officials began restricting access to the bridge connecting Les Cayes to the small, quake-impacted port city of Jeremie, meaning aid distribution had to be delivered there by boat or plane.
The quake wiped out many of the sources of food and income that the poor depend on for survival in Haiti, which is already struggling with the coronavirus and gang violence in addition to Moïse’s assassination.
Most of the devastation happened in Haiti’s already impoverished southwestern region.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry on Friday asked international governments and aid groups to funnel all of their donations through the country’s civil protection agency, “which will specify the needs of each town, each village and each remote area not yet attended.”