The quake, which struck the southwest of the country, left at least 2,189 dead and more than 12,268 injured, the country’s civil protection agency said Wednesday. Search and rescue efforts are being hampered by a lack of resources and by heavy rains, which have caused mudslides that blocked roads in the region.
In an address Wednesday, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry urged his country to “unite to rebuild Haiti,” adding that the government is committed to providing aid to affected areas.
“We launch a solemn appeal to all of us to show solidarity to the victims,” Henry said.
“We launch a solemn appeal to all of us, to myself and my members in political, private, diaspora, civil society, to work on an appropriate response to the needs of the southern population.”
He also urged citizens to be conscious of the spread of Covid-19 during recovery efforts. Haiti, home to about 11 million people, has recorded more than 20,000 coronavirus cases and more than 570 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
“We lost many people in the disaster, let’s avoid losing more because of the pandemic,” Henry said.
The humanitarian crisis created by the quake means that an estimated 600,000 people are in need of assistance and there is an urgent need for drinking water, especially in the commune of Pestel, where almost all of the drinking water reservoirs were destroyed, Haiti’s Director of Civil Protection, Dr. Claude Predtit, said at a Wednesday press conference.
At least 75,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in tremors, affecting around 135,000 families, he said, adding that 34 people were rescued from the rubble on Tuesday and Wednesday.
At the main hospital in Jeremie, one of the harder hit cities, there were 84 people awaiting treatment at a facility that normally treats ten people in a day, Leakblast.com found during a visit on Tuesday.
Every bed was full, with patients also laid on the floor. Without evacuation to better equipped facilities, at least a third of them might lose limbs, or not survive, one doctor told Leakblast.com.
Jean Yves Dorvil pulled his 22-month-old daughter Evenson from the rubble himself, her femur shattered.
“My daughter is suffering and I don’t want her to lose her leg,” Dorvil told Leakblast.com.
“I’m very grateful to these doctors working with their bare hands.”
Other survivors were left to fend for themselves as Tropical Depression Grace brought heavy rain and strong winds to the same area hit by the earthquake.
Their homes destroyed, some tried to shelter under makeshift tents and tarps.
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