At 8:30am (GMT-4) on 14 August, a deadly earthquake rocked southwestern Haiti just 12 km northeast of Saint-Louis du Sud and about 125 kilometers west of the capital Port-au-Prince. The quake severely affected public buildings and homes and damaged critical infrastructure and roads, cutting off access to some areas in the southwest, forcing many to flee their homes in fear that they may collapse, and seek refuge in evacuation shelters and host families.
The Haitian Civil Protection General Directorate (DGPC) reported 2,200 deaths, 12,000 people injured, and more than 137,500 damaged or destroyed houses, including essential facilities such as hospitals, schools and churches. Among the 800,000 people affected by the earthquake, thousands are internally displaced and hundreds are still missing. The Sud, Grand’Anse and Nippes departments, particularly the cities of Les Cayes, Jeremie and Anse-à-Veaux, were hit the hardest, suffering extensive damage and destruction, while in Petit-Trou-deNippes downed phone linesleft the city out of reach.
Despite the challenges, on 14 August, IOM deployed its teams to the affected areas to assess the situation and join forces with the DGPC and humanitarian partners on the frontlines. Since then, IOM has reached close to 153,000 people. With the aim of further assisting those affected, IOM published an appeal for USD 15 million for activities related to Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFIs), Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), Health and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), Protection, as well as Early Recovery and Community Stabilization.
Severe humanitarian access constraints and the fragile security situation have greatly complicated the humanitarian response in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The earthquake, coupled with the pre-existing crises, has dramatically exacerbated the humanitarian needs on the ground. Over 650,000 people still need life-saving assistance, while funds are also needed for long-term recovery efforts focused on shelter, mental health support andCOVID-19 prevention.