BY THE NUMBERS
- 7.2 magnitude
- 1,400+ deathsreported
- 6,900+ injuriesreported
- 83,300+ housesdamagedor destroyed
Source: USAID/BHAbulletin, August 17, 2021
On the morning of Saturday, August 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the southwestern portion of Haiti. The tremor was felt across the island of Hispaniola and as far away as Jamaica. The earthquake resulted in more than 1,400 deaths, according to the latest reports.
This figure is expected to rise, given concerns over the hundreds of thousands of people who live in the area, and with the large number of homes that have collapsed in the affected towns. Roads, bridges and other parts of the region?s fragile infrastructure have been rendered unusable. A portion of the main road from Les Cayes to Jérémie collapsed and is unpassable. The bridge over the Grande-Anse River, at the entrance to Jérémie, was further damaged and trucksare unableto cross.
This earthquake comesat a time when Haiti is experiencing a multitude of humanitarian and political crises, including an inadequate response to COVID-19, a hunger crisis affecting 4 million Haitians, political fallout and tensions after a presidential assassination, and the ongoing recovery after thedevastating 2010 earthquake.
Furthermore, Tropical Storm Grace hindered recovery efforts when it passed over the affected region over the past 24 hours, bringing heavy rainfall and wind that triggered landslides and flash floods. This being the midpoint of the hurricane season, further vigilance iskey.
The primeminister hasdeclared a month-long state of emergency.
While the needs are extensive, most urgent are medical care for the injured and access to essential health care services, safe water and shelter.
Actions Taken and Next Steps
IMA World Health and Lutheran World Relief, both of the Corus International family, have a long-standing presence in Haiti, and have committed an initial $100,000 to the emergency response.
Our response will address immediate needs such as helping affected communities access safe water and personal hygiene supplies, as well as working with health care facilities to stabilize patient intake and referral systems. IMA has an extensive footprint of health programs in Haiti and has developed a substantial network of partners and volunteers that will be mobilized in the wake of this disaster. IMAstaff in Haiti are currently conducting rapid assessments of health carefacilitiesin Grand Anse.