Haiti

Haiti: Earthquake Situation Report No. 4 (7 September 2021)

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published

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This report was produced by OCHA Haiti with contributions from United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programmes, nongovernmental organizations and humanitarian partners.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Conclusive reports from the recently completed search-and-rescue operations highlight the devastating impact of the earthquake.

  • As of 3 September, nearly 46 per cent of affected families have received humanitarian assistance.

  • Against a backdrop of urgent needs, response efforts continue to be challenged by access constraints along the main supply route (RN #2), which provides access for the delivery of aid to quake-affected areas in the south.

  • Despite challenges, robust response efforts are underway across the priority sectors of food,
    WASH, health and emergency shelter.

  • On 30-31 August, Prime Minister Dr Ariel Henry officially launched the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) process with support from the UN system, the European Union, World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

  • UNICEF warns of a potential resurgence in water-borne diseases in south-western Haiti, where more than half a million children lack access to shelter, safe drinking water and hygiene facilities.

800K affected people (Source: UN System in Haiti)

650K in need of emergency humanitarian assistance (Source: UN System in Haiti)

$187.3M in humanitarian financing required to reach 500,000 affected people (Source: Haiti Earthquake Flash Appeal – August 2021)

2.2K+ people dead, with more expected (Source: DGPC)

329 people still missing (Source: DGPC)

137.5K+ damaged and destroyed homes (Source: DGPC)

SITUATION OVERVIEW

More than three weeks after a devastating earthquake hit south-western Haiti, search- and-rescue efforts in the hardest-hit areas have been concluded as of 2 September, with efforts now shifting toward recovery operations as the country looks to pull itself out of yet another crisis. As of 4 September, search-and-rescue crews had extracted dozens of missing people from the rubble, including 16 trapped in a building in Les Cayes and 24 evacuated from Pic Macaya. The conclusive report from the Haitian Civil Protection General Directorate (DGPC) indicates that 329 people are still missing, while 2,248 were killed - including in the Nord- Ouest Department where 2 people died in Bassin Bleu - and 12,763 injured following the powerful 7.2-magnitude quake on 14 August.

Since the initial quake, the DGPC estimates that there have been more than 900 aftershocks, including approximately 400 at magnitude 3 or stronger on the Richter scale. Preliminary estimates of damages and economic losses are at least US$1.5 billion, about 10 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. More than 60 health facilities have been damaged across the most affected departments (Grand’Anse, Nippes and Sud), while more than 1,060 school buildings have been damaged, including 171 completely destroyed, which represents roughly 16 per cent of all schools in these areas. The situation presents additional challenges for students and teachers as schools are scheduled to reopen on 21 September nationwide, and 4 October in areas affected by the earthquake.

Homes, infrastructure and livelihoods in rural areas, where up to 80 per cent of the affected population lives, have been much harder hit than in urban centres. DGPC estimates that on average five to seven times more homes were destroyed in rural areas compared to urban ones. Across the three most affected departments, 83,770 homes have suffered varying degrees of damage while 53,815 have been completely destroyed. As of 3 September, DGPC and IOM have identified at least 26,245 displaced people in 65 displacement sites in the three most affected departments, with the majority - more than 70 per cent – located in 40 sites across the Sud Department.

Health and shelter remain the most urgent priorities of the humanitarian response. National authorities and humanitarian partners continue to scale up response efforts to get relief assistance to hard-to-reach areas all but completely cut off from outside access, ensuring that the most vulnerable are not left behind. However, ongoing access and security constraints continue to pose significant logistics and transportation challenges that hinder the efficiency of relief operations. As of 3 September, nearly 46 per cent - about 70,000 families – of those in need of assistance have received humanitarian aid.

Clashes between armed gangs are beginning to flare up again in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, forcing some humanitarian convoys to be suspended as the security situation along national road #2, a major arterial road connecting the capital to the hardest-hit areas in the southern peninsula, continues to deteriorate. There have also been instances of relief supplies being looted by armed gangs, leading to the disruption of distributions to those most in need. At the same time, the rise in kidnappings remains a concern, particularly in Port-au-Prince. On 7 September, the Government warned about a spike in kidnappings and other crimes as it pledged to fight gangs, drawing retorts from two crime bosses that any crackdown will bring greater violence aimed at police in an already unstable context.

Amid the peak of the hurricane season, the risk of heavy rains and associated flooding and landslides, as already witnessed two days after the quake with the passage of Tropical Depression Grace, could further complicate response efforts and expose an already vulnerable population to additional hazard risks. While COVID-19 cases have been tailoring off for more than a month, the conditions on the ground are ripe for an outbreak as thousands of people have been displaced with limited or no access to safe water and sanitation and lack appropriate personal protective equipment.

UNICEF warns of a potential resurgence in water-borne diseases in south-western Haiti, where more than half a million children who lack access to shelter, drinking water and hygiene facilities are exposed to the growing risk of acute respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, malaria and cholera. The latter has not been detected in Haiti since February 2019 after a nine-year cholera outbreak, which began after the 2010 quake, killed nearly 10,000 people across the country. With almost 60 per cent of the affected population in the three hardest-hit departments left without access to safe water after the quake, health risks are on the rise as the health system struggles to cope with the fallout of the earthquake.

According to UNICEF’s U-Report, 72 per cent of people in the three most affected departments reported that health facilities near their homes were damaged by the earthquake, with at least 60 per cent responding that health services were interrupted due to a lack of health personnel, medical equipment and supplies and collapsed or damaged health facilities. UNICEF and the departmental health Directorates deployed 24 mobile health teams over the past week to ensure access to basic health care, while 28 tents have been installed to maintain access to health services at facilities that have been damaged or destroyed.

In the aftermath of the quake, health and protection interventions must ensure access to critical services for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and protection against sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) as well as sexual and gender- based violence (SGBV). Preliminary rapid gender assessments have highlighted a rise in incidents and risks of SGBV, as assembly points sheltering displaced people lack electricity, showers and toilets as well as adequate health infrastructure, while health centres and hospitals providing services for GBV survivors in affected areas have been severely damaged. Streamlining gender considerations is pivotal to ensuring an accountable, well-targeted, transparent and gender-sensitive response effort that addresses the differentiated needs of the most vulnerable groups.

Coordinated efforts continue on the establishment of system-wide collective community feedback and gender-sensitive complaint mechanisms that properly handle potential cases of sexual exploitation and abuse. A Zero Tolerance UN telephone line (3702-6516) and email address (Report-UN-Haiti@un.org) have already been activated but further effort is required to harmonize them other initiatives and channels, assuring all actors are using similar standard operating procedures, following up appropriately and systematically closing the feedback loop together with affected communities.
At the global, regional and country level, coordinated efforts are underway for the re-activation of the interagency Communication with Communities/Accountability to Affected People (CwC/AAP) Working Group in order to strategically position it as a key element of the humanitarian response architecture. This set of minimum actions not only demonstrates in practice our commitments and responsibility to principled and accountable humanitarian action, but also indicates respect for the dignity of affected people. Additionally, there remain major gaps in ensuring that additional measures are incorporated in response protocols to address the needs of 3,500 people with disabilities affected by the crisis.

As national response efforts gradually transition to recovery operations, there is a recognition that response efforts must continue to complement and strengthen the response led by national authorities and longstanding actors on the ground, especially local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs) and women’s organizations. A response that values localization and accountability requires meaningful local engagement and trust-building through transparent ongoing dialogue with affected communities, including women, youth and the elderly, as well as religious leaders and a diverse range of local actors. Open conversations must be maintained on humanitarian interventions, delivering through clear and plain language important information on projects - such as objectives, start and end dates, operational limitations and selection criteria - accompanied by active listening on recommendations and swift responses to the concerns of affected people.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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