October 22, 2021

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Haiti earthquake – live: Death toll rises to 1,297 as country braces for tropical storm Grace

Moment woman and child rescued from rubble after Haiti quake

The death toll from a devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti has risen to 1,297, officials have said as rescuers desperately search through the rubble of destroyed buildings for survivors.

Thousands more people are injured and displaced from their homes after the magnitude 7.2 quake struck on Saturday.

Hospitals in the Caribbean country are buckling under huge patient numbers while aid workers struggle to get supplies to the worst affected areas.

“There has been nothing. No help, nothing from the government,” Jennie Auguste, a resident of the southwestern part of the country said.

Rescue and aid efforts could be hampered by a tropical depression sweeping the Caribbean. Storm Grace has already hit the Dominican Republic and is expected to reach Haiti on Monday and Tuesday, with rain and wind speeds of 40-50mph.

The civil protection agency said Haitians must expect strong winds, heavy rain, rough seas, landslides and flooding.

Key Points

Tropical storm expected todayDeath toll rises to 1,297 Rescuers desperate search through rubble for survivorsKey facts Show latest update
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How to donate to the relief effort from the UK

ActionAid is one of a number of organisations responding to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti.

My colleague Kate Ng has more details below on how to donate:

Matt Mathers16 August 2021 13:44

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‘Serious’ issues with hospitals

Hospitals in Haiti are facing “serious” issues as they try to treat thousands of people injured in the earthquake, an official has said.

Jerry Chandler, the head of Haiti’s civil protection agency, said: “We do have a serious issue.

“There are very important facilities that are dysfunctional as we speak and those that are functional are receiving an overflow of patients.”

Matt Mathers16 August 2021 13:24

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Medical workers scramble to hospitals

Medical workers from across Haiti were scrambling to help as hospitals in Les Cayes started running out of space to perform surgeries. “Basically, they need everything,” said Dr Inobert Pierre, a paediatrician with the nonprofit Health Equity International, which oversees St Boniface Hospital, about two hours from Les Cayes. “Many of the patients have open wounds and they have been exposed to not-so-clean elements,” added Pierre, who visited two hospitals in Les Cayes — one with some 200 patients, the other with around 90. “We anticipate a lot of infections.” Pierre’s medical team was taking some patients to St. Boniface to undergo surgery, but with just two ambulances, they could transport only four at a time.

Matt Mathers16 August 2021 13:05

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Humanitarian needs are acute, Unicef says

UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore says humanitarian needs are acute, with many Haitians urgently needing health care, clean water and shelter. Children who have been separated from parents need protection, she said. Alluding to the 2010 earthquake that ravaged Hait’s capital, killing tens of thousands, Fore said: “Little more than a decade on, Haiti is reeling once again.

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.”

Matt Mathers16 August 2021 12:50

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PM declares one-month emergency

Prime Minister Ariel Henry has declared a one-month state of emergency for the whole country and said that first aid convoys organized by the government had started moving help to areas where towns were destroyed and hospitals were overwhelmed. “We salute the dignity, the resilience effort of the victims and their ability to start over,” Henry told reporters.

“From my observations, I deduce that Haitians want to live and progress. Let us unite to offer these people a living environment conducive to development.”

Matt Mathers16 August 2021 12:30

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Gangs hampering rescue effort

Local officials organising rescue efforts had to negotiate with gangs in the seaside district of Martissant to allow two humanitarian convoys a day to pass through the area, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported.

The agency called Haiti’s southern peninsula a “hotspot for gang-related violence,” where humanitarian workers have been repeatedly attacked.

The agency said the area has been “virtually unreachable” over the past two months because of roadblocks and security concerns. Agency spokeswoman Anna Jefferys said the first convoy passed through Sunday with government and U.N. personnel. She added that the U.N.’s World Food Program plans to send in food supplies via trucks Tuesday.

Matt Mathers16 August 2021 12:08

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WHO official and ‘outstanding epidemiologist’ dies in quake

A World Health Organisation official deployed to Haiti to help coordinate its Covid-19 response has died in the earthquake, WHO’s director general said.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “outstanding epidemiologist” Dr Ousmane Touré played a key role in beating the Ebola crisis.

“My deepest condolences to his wife & young daughters,” Mr Ghebreyesus added.

Matt Mathers16 August 2021 11:51

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US vows to help Haiti recover

In a statement, President Biden said: “In what is already a challenging time for the people of Haiti, I am saddened by the devastating earthquake that occurred in Saint-Louis du Sud, Haiti this morning. We send our deepest condolences to all those who lost a loved one or saw their homes and businesses destroyed. I have authorized an immediate US response and named USAID Administrator Samantha Power as the senior US official to coordinate this effort.

“Through USAID, we are supporting efforts to assess the damage and assist efforts to recover those who were injured and those who must now rebuild. The United States remains a close and enduring friend to the people of Haiti, and we will be there in the aftermath of this tragedy.”

Matt Mathers16 August 2021 11:35

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Locals recover their belongings from their homes destroyed in the earthquake in Camp-Perrin, Les Cayes

(Associted Press)

Matt Mathers16 August 2021 11:10

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Key facts

Earthquake hit west Haiti on SaturdayEpicentre about 12km (7.5 miles) from the town of Saint-Louis du SudTremors felt in Port-au-Prince, around 125km away (77 miles)Tremors also felt in the Dominican RepublicAt least 1,297 people dead, although officials fear true figure could be much higherAt least 7,000 homes were destroyed and 5,000 more damaged

Firefighters search for survivors inside a collapsed building in Les Cayes

(Associated Press)

Matt Mathers16 August 2021 10:39

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