BY THE NUMBERS
2,200 + earthquake-related deaths
12,260 + injuries reported
130,000 houses destroyed or damaged
24,400 people displaced
650,000 people requiring humanitarian assistance
Source: USAID Haiti Earthquake Fact Sheet #9, Aug. 30, 2021
The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck southwestern Haiti on August 14 has devastated communities in Grand'Anse, Nippes, and Sud Departments, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in dire need of food, water, basic sanitation and shelter. The suffering left in the wake of the earthquake was compounded by the heavy rains from Tropical Depression Grace on August 17, which triggered flooding and mudslides in some localities. All of this comes on top of the assassination of Haiti's president on July 7, which has thrown the country into political chaos.
Damage to the region's already fragile infrastructure is making it difficult to access the affected areas, further complicating the response effort. Roads, bridges and other parts of the transportation network have been rendered unusable. In addition, gangs along the routes into the peninsula from Port au Prince have made security an issue as the possibility of attacks on convoys remains high.
The bridge over the Grande-Anse River at the entrance to Jérémie has sustained significant structural damage and is closed to traffic, except for motorcycles or pedestrians. Any relief supplies delivered to that area must come by air, sea or through a long diversion on land.
The acute needs as a result of the earthquake only exacerbate the multiple and protracted humanitarian crises that already affected Haiti. The U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) identified more than 610,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance in the three affected departments even prior to the earthquake. The risk of COVID-19 spread remains extremely high and is accompanied by vaccine hesitancy and very slow roll out, especially in rural parts of the country.