MS Risk Blog

Haiti Earthquake

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On the morning of August 11th, Haiti was struck by a powerful earthquake with a death toll currently at 2,000 people. With mass levels of devastation and remote villages cut off from help, the situation in the country is under yet another major issue to be addressed. Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry described the country as “on its knees” with all that has occurred, as the long-term effects of the earthquake go on.

What has occurred has been seen as the deadliest earthquake of the year so far and the worst of its kind in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. Many buildings have been left damaged including churches and hotels. The prime minister Ariel Henry declared a month-long state of emergency, with the tremor being felt across neighbouring countries. The repercussion of this earthquake is likely to affect Haiti for the foreseeable future, with the political crises also ongoing adding to concerns within the country.

Nadesha Mijoba of the Haitian Health Foundation has said that they are preparing for a public health disaster as conditions worsen in Haiti, warning of a potential outbreak of cholera due to concerns around sanitation. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has said rescue workers have had to contend with armed gang attacking aid convoys, but after negotiations they agreed to let aid through.

US aid agency USAID has said many roads have remained impassable due to mudslides in the mountains and remote areas being extremely difficult to access. In the village of Marceline, north of Les Cayes, has had one in six buildings collapsed and it was one of the worst affected towns by the earthquake. Its voodoo community centre caved in on itself causing more than 25 people having to be stuck under the rubble. The medical centre has also been flattened by the earthquake making it impossible for those in the town to gather supplies.

Officials in Haiti has estimated that there are still 600,000 people still in need of emergency assistance, with Unicef warning that half a million children have little access to safe water, food, or any form of shelter. What is also concerning is the destruction to schools as in just a few weeks they were planned to reopen for the school year. Due to the recent earthquake, classes for most students scheduled to start on the 6tth has been pushed back by 2 weeks. According to UNICEF, of the 2,800 schools in the 3 most affected areas 955 have been assessed by the government with support for UNICEF and results show that 15% have been destroyed and 69% damaged. With many students already having classes pushed back due to COVID 19 many have lost out in crucial months of education.

With the death toll still rising and many communities throughout the country affected, it is a sad reality that Haiti will be affected by this disaster for the foreseeable future. With the hope that aid can eventually arrive in hard-to-reach areas, only then can Haiti start recovering its people from this disaster.