On the 14th of August, Haiti confronted an earthquake with a 7.2 magnitude which caused major damage, destruction, displacement and deaths. At least 1,941 people were killed, 9,900 injured and more than 60,759 houses destroyed. Hospitals in the affected areas became overwhelmed. “Every bed was full with patients also laid on the floor,” reported CNN.
The earthquake caused damage to the southwestern part of Haiti. The destruction’s epicenter started about 78 miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince. Families saved a few of their belongings and spent the night in an open-air-football pitch. The next day, people stood in lines for some food essentials made available to them. Prime Minister, Ariel Henry declared a one-month state of emergency and told reporters, “Let us unite to offer these people a living environment conducive to development.”
UNICEF’s Executive Director, Henrietta Fore voiced that Haiti is in need of health care, clean water, and shelter. “And this disaster coincides with political instability, rising gang violence, alarmingly high rates of malnutrition among children, and the COVID-19 pandemic — for which Haiti has received just 500,000 vaccine doses, despite requiring far more,” announced Fore.
Days after the earthquake, Tropical Storm Grace swept across Haiti, bringing in heavy rains, flooding, and landslides which interfered with the rescue efforts and affected makeshift homes.
Haiti is a country of about 11 million people and the first batch of vaccines arrived last month containing 500,000 vaccine doses from the United Nations. Since the aftermath of the earthquake, Haiti has been receiving help from various sources, including, Florida-based missionary service Agape Flights which assisted with the transport of injured citizens. U.S. President, Joe Biden announced USAID was on its way to help Haiti with search and rescue teams.
Prime Minister, Ariel Henry asked Haitians to “unite to rebuild Haiti,” while remaining cautious of the spread of COVID-19. There are an estimated 600,000 people who are in need of drinking water as drinking water reservoirs have been destroyed said Dr. Claude Predtit, Haiti’s Director of Civil Protection.
Over the weekend, a massive earthquake hit Haiti, claiming thousands of lives and leaving many displaced and injured. In response, we put together a list of local organizations that are assisting with urgent recovery efforts.
Take action for Haiti: https://t.co/4yWCbrhp3E
— The Obama Foundation (@ObamaFoundation) August 16, 2021
“We lost many people in the disaster, let’s avoid losing more because of the pandemic”—Prime Minister
The arrival of Tropical Storm Grace has challenged recovery and reconstruction efforts. People who lost their homes are having a difficult time accessing aid, currently stored in the capital, Port-au-Prince, due to travel complications caused by the storm’s mudslides. During critical moments such as this, Haiti relies on the assistance of its neighboring countries for medical assistance, supplies, and food. Haiti has encountered difficult moments in the past such as the earthquake of 7.0 magnitude which struck, in 2010, and killed an approximate 220,000 people.
Despite the great number of difficulties that Haitian citizens are facing, volunteers across the country are working in solidarity to find as many survivors as possible among the ruins.
Help can be sent through these organizations:
Save the Children: https://www.savethechildren.org/us/where-we-work/haiti
Food for the Poor: https://www.foodforthepoor.org/our-work/where-we-serve/haiti/
Haiti Foundation of Hope: https://haitifoundationofhope.org/donate/
My name is Nancy Ortega and I am a current undergraduate student at UC Davis majoring in Animal Science and Spanish, but began my studies at Rio Hondo College. I am the proud daughter of two immigrants and the sister of a Dreamer. My interest in Latin America emerged due to the passion from my high school Spanish teacher. I became interested in the variety of cultures, the unique people, and the history still to be uncovered from underrepresented countries. In Latina Republic, I want to expand the beauty and complexity of Latin America and enrich my mind, as well as that of the readers, throughout this new experience. I look forward to meeting interesting individuals, hearing new stories, and coming out with a fresh mind set.