Saturday’s earthquake hit the southwestern part of the hemisphere’s poorest countries, destroying nearly a few towns, causing landslides and hampering relief efforts in the two most devastated communities. The disaster also added to the fate of Haitians who were already working on the coronavirus pandemic, the assassination of the president and the worsening of poverty.
According to the US Geological Survey, the epicenter of the earthquake was about 125 kilometers (78 miles) west of the capital Port-au-Prince. Widespread damage may be exacerbated early next week, and tropical cyclone grace is expected to reach Haiti by late Monday or early Tuesday.
Aftershocks were felt throughout the day, until late at night, and many people became homeless and feared that a broken house would collapse, staying on the streets and sleeping if their nerves allowed.
In the heavily damaged coastal town of Les Cayes, some have praised God for surviving the earthquake in darkness pierced by flashlights alone.
“We are alive today because God loves us,” said Marie Claire Jean-Pierre, whose house collapsed shortly after she and her son felt the ground began to shake and s ‘is off. paddy field.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry said the city had been destroyed and hospitals were rushing to help areas overwhelmed by patient acceptance. A former senator hired a private plane to transport the wounded from Les Cayes to Port-au-Prince for medical assistance.
Henry declared a state of emergency nationwide for a month and said he would not seek international help until the extent of the damage was known.
“The most important thing is to have as many survivors as possible under the rubble,” Henry said. “I have learned that the local hospitals, in particular the hospitals in Les Cayes, are overwhelmed with wounded and injured.
Jerry Chandler, director of Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency, told reporters the death toll was 304: 00 on Saturday night. Rescuers and passers-by were able to safely lure many people out of the rubble.
At least 860 homes have been destroyed and more than 700 have been damaged in some of the structural damage, Chandler said. Hospitals, schools, offices and churches have also been affected.
On Abash Island, a small island about 10.5 km from Les Cayes, the earthquake damaged a seaside resort popular with Haitian officials, business leaders, diplomats and aid workers. Fernando Sajos, owner of Abaca Bay Resort, said over the phone that nine of the hotel’s 30 rooms had collapsed but were vacant at the time and no one was injured.
“They disappeared, just like that,” Sajous said.
Residents in Les Cayes tried to pull guests out of the rubble of a collapsed hotel, but when the sun went down, they were able to retrieve the body of a seven-year-old girl who had a house behind the establishment.
“I had eight children and I was looking for the last one,” Jean Claude Daniel said in tears. “I’ll never see her alive. The earthquake destroyed my life. It took my child away from me.
Damning hospital reports come as Haiti suffers from a pandemic and a lack of resources to deal with it. Just last month, 11 million countries received the first batch of coronavirus vaccine donated by the United States under a United Nations low-income country program.
Just over a month after President Jovenel Moise was gunned down at his home, an earthquake struck the country in political turmoil. Widow Martine Morse, seriously injured in the attack, posted a message on Twitter calling for Haitian unity.
Henry boarded a plane for Les Cayes, and his response was adjusted to avoid the unrest following the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, where aid was slow to reach residents after the murder of 300,000 Haitians. He said “structured solidarity” is needed. ..
US President Joe Biden has appointed USAID administrator Samantha Power as a senior official to endorse the immediate response and coordinate US efforts to support Haiti. USAID will help assess the damage and rebuild it, Biden said, calling the United States a “close and lasting friend to the people of Haiti.”
Argentina and Chile were also among the first countries to pledge aid.
Humanitarian activists said gang activity in the seaside district of Martissant, just west of the Haitian capital, is also complicating relief efforts.
“No one can move around in the region,” Ndiaga Seck, UNICEF spokesperson for Port-au-Prince, said over the phone. “We can only fly over or take another route. “
UNICEF was planning to send medicine to two hospitals in the south, Les Cayes and Jeremy, although reports of the death and damage in Port-au-Prince have been delayed due to inadequate internet services, Mr. Dry.
The people of Port-au-Prince got chills and many rushed through the streets in horror, but there appeared to be no damage.
Haiti, where many people live in sparse conditions, is vulnerable to earthquakes and hurricanes. A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck in 2018, killing more than 12 people.
At the end of Saturday, the island had six aftershocks greater than 5.0 and nine aftershocks greater than 4.0.
Haitian civil engineer and geologist Claude Prepti warned of the dangers of cracking structures.
“A more or less intense aftershock is expected for a month,” he said, warning that “some buildings which were severely damaged during the earthquake could collapse during the aftershock.”
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Haiti earthquake today: a powerful earthquake worsens the country’s misery, killing at least 304