Haiti earthquake death toll continues to rise, rescue attempts hampered.
Written by Derrick Asaba on August 18, 2021
Officials say that at least 1,941 people are known to have died following the deadly 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the Tiburon Peninsula in the Caribbean nation of Haiti.
This is a rise of more than 500 on the previous figure and nearly 10,000 people have been injured, and many are still missing after this tremor according to a BBC report.
There are fears that the death toll will rise.
The earthquake struck at 8:30 a.m. about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) deep, with its epicenter about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) northeast of Saint-Louis-du-Sud in the southwest part of the country.
The location was about 96 Kilometres (60 miles) west of the disastrous 7.0-magnitude earthquake in 2010 that killed an estimated 220 000 to 300,000 people according to CNN.
Haiti has been hit by a series of natural disasters over the past years, including Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
The deadliest, however, was the 2010 earthquake which killed more than 200,000 people and caused extensive damage to the country’s infrastructure and economy.
Attempts to rescue people nonetheless have been disadvantaged by heavy rains brought about this week by Tropical Storm Grace to the Caribbean nation.
The UN says about 500,000 children now have limited or no access to shelter, safe water and food.
“Countless Haitian families who have lost everything due to the earthquake are now living literally with their feet in the water due to the flooding,” said Bruno Maes, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative in the country.
Tens of thousands of people who were left homeless by the quake had to decide whether to brave the storm under flimsy tarpaulins or risk returning into buildings damaged by the tremor and smaller aftershocks.
“Yesterday [Tuesday] evening, I took shelter near a church, but when I heard the ground shake again, I ran to return here,” city resident Magalie Cadet was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
Cadet said that very few structures remained standing and that people had to relieve themselves on the city streets.
The south-west of Haiti appears to have suffered the worst of the damage from the quake, especially around the city of Les Cayes.
Some hospitals were left overwhelmed and in need of supplies, as medics struggled to treat the injured.
The earthquake compounds problems facing the impoverished nation, which is already reeling from a political crisis following the assassination of its president last month.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who is in power until a fresh presidential election can be held, has declared a month-long state of emergency and urged the population to show solidarity.