Haiti earthquake dying toll over 1400
- Over 7,000 homes have been razed and at least 6,900 are injured.
- Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry has declared a month-long state of emergency.
- In addition to the earthquake, Haiti is grappling with ongoing gang violence and the recent assassination of its President Jovenel Moise, who was shot dead in his home just over a month ago.
The quake shook the southwest of the country, leaving some cities completely destroyed and thousands homeless. Over 7,000 homes have been razed and there are at least 6,900 injured, many of whom are waiting to be hospitalized. Many of the wounded face the risk of contracting infection in the elements without medical attention.
Image courtesy of obama.org
The coastal town of Les Cayes was badly damaged by the earthquake and many families were clinging to belongings that they saved after surviving the night outdoors.
Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry has declared a month-long state of emergency. The Prime Minister called for “structured solidarity” and recalled the mass confusion of relief efforts after the earthquake eleven years ago.
Aid is directed to the areas where the need is greatest and the hospitals are overburdened. Rescue planes make as many airlifts as possible from several cities in the country.
Samantha Power has been appointed USAID administrator by US President Joe Biden to oversee United States aid to Haiti. A 65-person search and rescue mission is dispatched from Virginia. The US Coast Guard transports injured persons and medical personnel as well as ships and aircraft. Samaritan’s Purse, a North Carolina-based relief group, is sending 13 civil protection specialists and 31 tons of emergency supplies.
The United Nations World Food Program is working to dispatch truckloads of food on Tuesday.
Gang activities make relief efforts difficult, especially in Martissant, a coastal district west of the capital. Officials had to negotiate with the gangs, who agreed to let through two humanitarian convoys a day.
In addition to the ongoing gang violence, Haiti is grappling with the recent assassination of its President Jovenel Moise, who was shot in his home a little over a month ago and left the nation in political chaos. And to top it off, there are of course the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), a magnitude 5.2 aftershock was felt after the earthquake, followed by 9 aftershocks, more of which are expected in the coming days.
Guyana President Irfaan Ali
Message of hope from Guyana
The Peoples Progressive Party Civic / Guyana announced in a tweet today that the Prime Minister’s Guyana office announced that a bank account had been opened to raise funds for earthquake relief in Haiti. The explanation read in part:
“In line with the government’s commitment to act swiftly and decisively in response to the recent devastating earthquake in our sister state, CARICOM, the Republic of Haiti, and following a direct telephone conversation last Saturday between His Excellency President Irfaan Ali and the newly appointed Haitian Prime Minister, the Honorable Dr. Ariel Henry, the Prime Minister’s Office today opened a humanitarian account with Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited on behalf of the Civil Defense Commission.
“The OPM will work closely with our civil society, the private sector and other partners to quickly raise funds for a coordinated, substantial relief effort for the affected people in Haiti.
“Guyana’s determination to stand in solidarity with our CARICOM brothers and sisters throughout the region in good and bad times remains firm. As in the past, we will join forces and resources to face the latest humanitarian challenge to bring comfort and relief to our Hatian brothers and sisters as soon as possible.
“We ask Guyans in the Diaspora to join our efforts to provide significant aid through or through a collective response.”