Thousands of people are feared dead after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean country on Tuesday. The epicentre was close to the capital Port-au-Prince, which is largely made up of slums and poorly constructed houses, many of which were not able to withstand the force of such a large earthquake.
The scale of the disaster is not yet known as all communication lines are currently down. But there are reports that homes, government buildings and hotels have collapsed, and people are still digging out survivors and dead bodies from the rubble, often with their own bare hands.
In the capital many people are afraid to return to their homes because of further aftershocks, and many are sleeping on the streets with no shelter. There are also many dead bodies lining the streets and pavements, raising fears of a health crisis.
Islamic Relief is sending an emergency response team from the UK and the US to Haiti tomorrow to assess the damage. But at present it appears that the most pressing needs are for food, clean water, medical care and shelter.
The head of Islamic Relief's Humanitarian Department, Moustafa Osman said, "This earthquake is the worst to strike Haiti in 200 years and it appears that three million people have been affected, many of whom have been left homeless and without food or water."
"Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, where endemic poverty, food shortages and conflict are a daily occurrence. The country often struggles with natural disasters such as hurricanes but this earthquake is a disaster of an unprecedented scale and people need urgent assistance if we are to prevent many more lives being lost."
Islamic Relief has already made =A3250,000 available for the initial response. We will be working through local organisations in Haiti who already have experience of implementing projects in the country. Our partner in the United States, Islamic Relief-USA is also sending $1 million worth of emergency aid to the stricken country in coordination with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
For more information please contact Helen Mould on 0044 121 622 0719 or 0044 7855 499 645
1. Islamic Relief is an international aid agency with its headquarters in Birmingham, UK. We work in 26 countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East and Eastern Europe responding to emergencies and supporting sustainable development with vulnerable communities.
2. For more information please visit: www.islamic-relief.com