In Haiti, the death toll has risen to 1,400 after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit the western part of the island this weekend, bringing widespread devastation to a country already reeling from political instability, violence, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Here are a few of the latest stories around the unfolding situation in Haiti:
- The island-nation is facing a critical shortage of medical personnel and supplies as doctors scramble to treat victims injured in the collapse of schools, medical centers, churches, bridges, and more than 13,000 homes, according to The Washington Post. At least 5,700 people have sustained injuries, according to CBS News.
- Only a few dozen doctors live in Western Haiti, including one surgeon in the area of Les Cayes, the epicenter of the quake, according to The New York Times. The area is home to one million people.
- A handful of doctors are working around the clock in makeshift triage wards, but are short on supplies, intravenous drips, and basic antibiotics, according to reporting by the New York Times. Injured patients are crowding damaged hospitals or seeking mercy flights to Port-au-Prince for treatment. In Les Cayes, treatments are being hampered by intermittent blackouts, and a lack of pain killers, analgesics, and steel pins to mend fractures, according to the Associated Press.
- Thousands of Haitians are sleeping in the streets, afraid to re-enter their homes as aftershocks continue, according to Al Jazeera. Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency said that they risk being exposed to rains and an increased chance of waterborne diseases such as cholera.
- The quake comes on the heels of the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, which has spurred widespread political upheaval and violence. Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Grace is approaching the southern coast of Hispaniola, and threatening flash flooding and mudslides in the earthquake-affected areas. Tropical storm conditions are anticipated for later today with several inches of rain forecast and up to 15 inches in some isolated areas, according to CNN. Rescue workers and poorly equipped doctors are scrambling to save victims of the earthquake ahead of the storm, according to The Washington Post.
- Due to heavily armed gang areas, aid organizations have struggled to send medical supplies and doctors by road. Boats and airlifts have been used instead. On Sunday, the UN called for a “humanitarian corridor” to allow for quicker and safer transport of aid to affected areas, according to Reuters.
- On Saturday, August 14, a team of experts from the Pan-American Health Organization office in Port-au-Price were deployed to evaluate the damage and coordinate a health response alongside Haiti’s Ministry of Health, UN agencies, and other partners, according to the organization. PAHO is also preparing several Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs), as well as medical supplies and other strategic equipment that can be deployed if needed.
- Two Mexican military aircraft carrying 15.4 tons of food, medicine, and water have landed in Haiti, as reported by the Times of India. Another shipment of 3.6 tons of emergency aid including blankets, water filters, wheelbarrows, and shovels is expected later today.
- Colombia is sending 30 rescue workers to Haiti, including 25 firefighters, 5 representatives of the Red Cross, and several search and rescue dogs, according to Noticias Caracol.