On Sunday, hospitals in Haiti were overwhelmed by thousands of people injured by a destructive quake that left more than 1,297 residents dead. Leaders outsourced doctors to the most affected regions before a major storm strikes. The 7.2-magnitude quake damaged thousands of homes and buildings in Haiti, a country still struggling to recover from another major earthquake 11years ago. The Caribbean nation is also trying to uncover the truth about the assassination of its president that happened last month.
The Southwestern part of Haiti was the most affected, especially in and around Les Cayes. Haitian Civil Protection Agency stated that the death toll had hit 1, 297, and healthcare centers still functional were struggling to accommodate not less than 5,700 people injured. In the northwestern town of Jeremie, another worst-hit region, doctors treated quake victims on hospital stretchers under trees and mattresses by the roadside, as hospitals were full.
Jerry Chandler, the chief of Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency, said, “We do have a serious problem; there are very critical facilities that are not functioning as we speak, and those that are working are receiving an overflow of victims.”
The current situation the Caribbean nation is facing has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, a severe deterioration of the economy exacerbated by gang violence, and political chaos that the country has been encountering since President Moise was murdered in July 7.
Schools, restaurants, and hospitals were severely destroyed, while the walls of one jail were damaged by the tremor. Some 13, 694 homes were crushed, as reported by the Civil Protection agency, claiming more destruction could be expected. In Les Cayes, a city with over 90,000 residents, the rescue team pulled bodies from the debris of one building as a yellow excavator nearby helped to move the rubble.
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who flew to survey Les Cayes, was pleased by the dignity shown by residents there even in the middle of the agony. “They are affected but strong. They fight to survive,” he said, expressing gratitude to international agencies and foreign governments for their assistance.
Neighboring countries, like Mexico and the Dominican Republic, hurried to offer desperately needed food and medications by flight and across the borders of Haiti. Colombia deployed search and rescue teams. The United States sent critical supplies and dispatched search and rescue team with necessary tools, stated the chair of the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power.
Pope Francis requested the international community to support Haiti rapidly. “May solidarity from everyone lessen the consequences of the disaster,” he told tourists and pilgrims at a holy mass in ST. Peter’s Square.
The death is expected to increase as communication has been down, especially in remote areas. In inaccessible villages, many houses were delicate and constructed on slopes and at high risk of landslides, claimed Alix Percinthe from the ActionAid volunteer group. He said that a local official had told him there were 47 deaths in his village not yet included in the regional reports.