Residents will wait for food rations in Les Cayes, Haiti, on August 16, 2021, two days after the magnitude 7.2 earthquake. Credit-Joseph Odelyn-AP
On August 14, a catastrophic earthquake of magnitude 7.2 struck southwestern Haiti, killing 2,189 people, injuring 12,268 and leaving at least 332 missing. A few days later, the blessings of a tropical cyclone struck a devastated landscape, hindering complex search and rescue missions. But aid groups say this is just the beginning of the crisis.
Nearly 12 million island nations faced disasters one after another in the coming weeks. In July, President Jovenel Moise Assassinated Increasing allegations of corruption. The country has suffered from poverty, illness and infrastructure destruction since the catastrophic earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people in 2010.
This time another quake and the storm that followed left Haiti apart.According to the United Nations Estimate, 40% of the total affected population needs urgent humanitarian assistance. In some areas, up to 15 inches of rain caused flash floods and landslides, blocking roads to communities in urgent need of help.
“There are many deaths and many destructions,” Henri, CEO of CORE, a community-oriented aid organization, tells TIME. “We’re seeing the numbers go up slowly, and that’s a lot worse than what I was afraid of.”
In the most affected areas (Sud, Grand’Anse, Nippones) 61,000 The house was destroyed. Floods caused by storms have forced people to evacuate into unstable buildings.
Humanitarian activists are at risk as well. WesComfort, a leader in recovery and response at the support organization Heart to Heart International, told TIME that his medical team chose to sleep in the hood of the car. “Everyone is very wary of sleeping indoors, so last night we went camping and heard the aftershocks rattle. [mayor’s] office. “
Aid groups are now afraid that the deadly combination of landslides, debris fall and floods will increase the risk of illness for locals.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is also an urgent concern.Haiti reported during the pandemic process 184 Confirmed cases of COVID 19 and 582 deaths per 100,000. However, due to poor infrastructure, testing is very limited. The confirmed cases are probably higher.
However, this week’s natural disaster risks spreading the spread of the coronavirus through the rarely vaccinated population.Haiti Last country Vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine in the Western Hemisphere and vaccinated with the first vaccine batch Moderna dose of 500,000 doses on July 16th.
When the earthquake struck, CORE just opened several COVID-19 vaccine clinics. “They are mainly in the west [part of the country]”Lee told TIME. “We were spreading south, and this happened, and this would make it much harder to get there as we planned.”
Muhamed Bizimana, Haiti’s assistant country director for the CARE aid organization, told TIME that his team was concerned about the possibility of another wave of COVID-19. “We are concerned about the environment created by the entire devastation. [is] It creates new conditions for outbreaks, “he said.
Aid groups say they encourage people to evacuate to the ground at home rather than in crowded camps. This can spread the virus further. “this [the earthquake] It happened only on Saturday. So now we are still in the incubation period, “said Vizimana.
Poor hygiene and damage to water systems also raise concerns about water-borne diseases.In Pest, Granance, almost 1,800 The earthquake cracked a tank of clean water.
The stagnant water caused by the flood also becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. According to Dr. Maureen Birmingham, Haiti representative of Pan American and the World Health Organization, the country has made progress in combating malaria before the setbacks and political unrest caused by COVID-19.
Birmingham has a medical team called “Diarrheal Diseases, Respiratory Diseases, […] Due to poor hygiene, poor hygiene, and congestion. “”[It’s] I don’t know which one is the most worrisome. “
Cholera is something everyone cares about.The first occurrence in this country was after the 2010 earthquake, and as a result, almost 10,000 Deaths (number. Waterborne diseases continued to spread throughout the population and were particularly serious. gain After Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
The last confirmed case of cholera in Haiti was reported in February 2019, according to a UNICEF report. Birmingham states that risk is “very much in the spotlight.”