On August 14, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, leaving more than 650,000 people in need of emergency humanitarian assistance.
Just 46% of people in need have received humanitarian assistance.
Constraints related to security, transportation and communication have restricted humanitarian access in areas where relief is needed most.
As of September 26, International Medical Corps had provided more than 2,100 medical consultations and distributed more than 11,000 liters of potable water to residents and healthcare providers.
On August 14, a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Haiti, causing at least 2,248 deaths and injuring some 12,763 people. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than five weeks following the earthquake, 54% of those affected by the event remain in need of humanitarian assistance. Due to security, communication and transportation barriers, access to many areas in need of relief remains restricted. The Haitian Civil Protection General Doctorate is working on strategies and response efforts to overcome these obstacles.
Meanwhile, an estimated 15,000 Haitian migrants—many of whom fled from Haiti as early as 2010 following the earthquake that year1—have congregated at the US/Mexico border. At least 1,400 migrants have been deported to Haiti, and 3,200 more have been moved to the deportation process, creating an even more complex humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of the earthquake. The deportations not only put migrants at risk upon their return, but also pose a significant risk for the transmission of COVID-19 into Haiti, where transmission rates are currently low in earthquake-affected areas. UNICEF estimates that two of every three Haitian migrants deported to Port-au-Prince are women and children, a population most vulnerable to the myriad security threats existing in the country. With humanitarian relief implemented to address the needs of those affected by the quake, efforts will now need to consider the number of returning Haitians and the health conditions and needs they will present.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that 22,000 women in Haiti are due to give birth in the next three months. With more than half of health facilities in the earthquake-affected areas damaged or destroyed, demand for maternal healthcare will exceed the capacity of existing facilities, meaning health organizations and humanitarian actors will need to fill healthcare gaps. In addition to loss of service delivery points, many health personnel have lost their jobs and homes, and are experiencing psychological stress themselves. Humanitarian actors and others involved in the earthquake response are emphasizing health-systems strengthening and the need to transition care to local providers as priority components in relief efforts.