Haiti’s weekend earthquake kills 1,941


Haiti, Les Cayes-Haiti officials raised more than 500 deaths from a deadly weekend quake on Tuesday after a tropical cyclone Grace temporarily suspended search and rescue operations. ..

Grace struck southwestern Haiti, which was hit hardest by Saturday’s quake, and officials warned that it could rain 15 inches (38 centimeters) in some areas before the storm progressed. Intermittent rains fell in the quake-damaged cities of Les Cayes and the capital of Port-au-Prince.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Civil Protection Agency raised the death toll to 1,941 and the injured to 9,900. Many had to wait for medical assistance lying outside in the wilting heat.

Devastation is concentrated in the southwestern part of the country, where medical care has reached its limits and people have lost their homes and loved ones.

Patience was exhausted in the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Haitians were already suffering from coronavirus, gang violence, exacerbation of poverty, and the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7 when the earthquake struck.

The bodies continued to be pulled out of the rubble, and the pancake-painted three-story apartment smelled of death. The body of a 3-year-old girl found by a firefighter an hour ago was covered with simple sheets.

Neighbor Joseph Boyer, 53, said he knew the girl’s family.

“My mother and father are in the hospital, but all three children have died,” he said. The bodies of the other two brothers were previously discovered.

People are sitting in the church
People evacuated by the earthquake are sitting in the church the morning after the tropical cyclone Grace struck Les Cayes in Haiti on August 17, 2021. (Matias Delacroix / AP Photo)

Illustrating the lack of government presence, a volunteer firefighter in the nearby city of Cap-Haitien left the body in the rain because police had to be present before it could be taken away.

Another neighbor, James Luxama, 24, has repeated popular rumors at many disaster sites, saying that someone is sending a text message from the rubble asking for help. However, Luxama did not personally see or receive such a message.

A large number of angry men gathered in front of the collapsed building, a sign that the patience of those who had been waiting for the government’s help for days was exhausted.

“Photographers go through the press, but there are no tarpaulins on the roof,” said one man who refused to name it.

Jerry Chandler, head of Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency, acknowledged the situation. “People are becoming aggressive,” Chandler said Tuesday, when heavy rains had to suspend the assessment of the quake.

Carl Henry Petit Frere, field manager at Save the Children, said some children were orphaned by the earthquake and some were beginning to get hungry. No protection from wind and rain.

“We see children crying in the streets and people asking us for food, but we ourselves are short of food,” Petit Frere said, and children could fall. He added that he was warned not to enter the house because it was there. “The organizations here are doing what they can, but they need more supplies. They need food, clean water, shelter most, and we need them quickly.”

The building is in ruins
On August 17, 2021, three days after the magnitude 7.2 earthquake, the building was abandoned the morning after the tropical cyclone Grace struck Les Cayes in Haiti. (Fernando Llano / AP Photo)

About 20 soldiers have finally appeared to help the rescue team in the collapsed apartment building.

Prior to that, there was only help from unequipped volunteers.

“We only have a hammer and hands. That’s the plan,” said Randy Rodder, a Canadian volunteer who is the director of the Adlation Christian School in Haiti.

Sarah Charles, an assistant administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Humanitarian Aid Department, said the disaster response team had to shut down due to a storm on Monday, but members returned on Tuesday to impact it. He evaluated and said he continued to support.

“We don’t expect the death toll associated with this quake to be close to the 2010 quake, which killed more than 200,000 people,” Charles told reporters.

“It’s not what we’re seeing on the ground right now,” she said, adding that the magnitude of the damage wasn’t as severe as the quake.

In a statement, U.S. military Southern Command said it was moving eight helicopters from Honduras to Haiti, and seven U.S. Coast Guard cutters were on the way to assist the USAID team. According to the statement, there are already two cutters, along with two Coast Guard helicopters taking aerial photographs of the quake-stricken area and a US Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan continues to work with White House reporters “to provide the kind of emergency response needed for such human tragedy and catastrophe.” rice field.

John Morrison, a spokeswoman for Fairfax Co. (Virginia) Urban Search and Rescue, said the team is still trying to find survivors. On Monday, two US Coast Guard helicopters carried searchers to six affected communities.

“The team reports that food, medical services, safe drinking water, sanitation, sanitation and shelter are all priorities,” Morrison said. He added that the rescue team had never seen any signs of people trapped alive in the building.

UN spokesman Stephen Dujaric told reporters on Tuesday that he had paid the institution $ 8 million to get the supplies they needed right away. He said the United Nations “plays a leading role” in supporting Haiti, but added that “the government has a major responsibility.”

In the aftermath of the 2010 catastrophic earthquake, Dujaric said, “I think it’s a lesson learned for always better and better coordination so as not to see the chaotic scenes we experienced. I will. ” “We sometimes see countries sending aid that may not be needed with the best intentions … So the lessons learned are always to avoid waste and redundancy. I think it’s a better and better adjustment. “

Rain and wind created landslides and flash flood threats as Grace slowly passed through the Tiburon Peninsula in southwestern Haiti before heading to Jamaica and southeastern Cuba. Forecasters said it could be a hurricane before it hit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

According to officials, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake destroyed more than 7,000 homes, damaged nearly 5,000 and left about 30,000 families homeless. Hospitals, schools, offices and churches have also been demolished or severely damaged.

In the village of Bonne Fin, an hour’s drive from Les Cayes on a dirt road, the mountaintop Lumiere Hospital demonstrated the suffering and complexity of Haiti’s medical crisis and the urgent need for outside assistance.

There were no casualties in the hospital when the quake struck, but the operating room partially collapsed.

Through the cracks in the wall, Dr. Franz Codio was able to see the three glowing anesthesia machines needed to perform orthopedic surgery on a fractured bone. However, he could not reach them because the cement roof of the building was tilted at a crazy angle. There was also a place just 3-4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters) off the floor.

Despite the warning to stay out of the structure, Codio did so on Sunday and pulled out one of the machines.

“People said,’Don’t go in there, it’s too dangerous,’ but I had a god with me,” said Codio.

Haiti’s economist and professor at Port-au-Prince’s private university, Kiskeya University, said the quake would bring longer-term poverty to Haiti’s struggling southwestern region.

Political instability and gang crimes along the southern roads to the region have hampered economic activity in recent years.

“The quake has just hit a local economy that has been kneeling for about two and a half years,” Emile said.

Mark Stevenson and Even’s Sanon

Associated Press