The numbers continue to rise, which gradually reveal the extent of the suffering in Haiti after the earthquake. In many places no help has arrived yet, anger is mixed with desperation.
Les Cayes – After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, aid, which started slowly, still did not reach some hard-hit locations by Thursday.
Some villages were almost completely destroyed and were still waiting for urgently needed things such as food, drinking water, medicine and tents, reported the newspaper “Le Nouvelliste” from the South Haitian Department Sud.
In view of the need and increasing anger of the residents, elected local representatives called on the state to act, it said. The number of confirmed fatalities rose again significantly by almost 250 to 2189, as the civil protection authority announced on Wednesday evening (local time).
Interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry emphasized in an address to the nation that the country was physically and psychologically devastated. A working group with the participation of civil society and the private sector will manage all donations centrally in order to better distribute them, said the interim head of government. Henry called for unity.
The 7.2 magnitude quake occurred on Saturday morning (local time) near the municipality of Saint-Louis-du-Sud at a depth of around ten kilometers. According to civil defense, 332 people were still missing. At least 12 268 people were injured. Almost 53,000 houses were destroyed and a good 77,000 damaged. According to the UN Children’s Fund Unicef, 1.2 million people were affected by the disaster.
As the government announced, more than ten trucks with relief supplies drove to the earthquake region in the southwest of the Caribbean country on Wednesday. According to UN information, it had previously been negotiated that aid convoys would be allowed to use the main road between the capital Port-au-Prince and the south of the country, which is controlled by gangs. Their struggles for territories paralyze parts of Port-au-Prince again and again and, according to the UN, drove around 15,000 people to flee in June alone.
The director of the Pan American Health Organization (Paho), Carissa Etienne, announced that the health facilities in the earthquake area were overloaded, 20 of them were damaged by the quake and four were destroyed. The need for medical personnel, medicine, equipment and patient transport is immense.
Etienne called on the international community for help. Haiti’s already severely underfunded health system was already overstretched before the earthquake due to the corona pandemic, which has recently deteriorated. It hit a country in which many people live in dire poverty and which is particularly prone to natural disasters.
The earthquake region was devastated by Hurricane “Matthew” in 2016 – more than 500 people died. In a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in January 2010, the center of which was near the densely populated capital, more than 220,000 people were killed. A large part of the funds earmarked for reconstruction did not reach the population, among other things because of corruption and waste. The country is also experiencing a deep political crisis, which was exacerbated by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7th. dpa