AUGUST 16, 2021
As Haiti continues to grapple with the aftermath of Saturday’s 7.2-magnitude earthquake, the Caribbean nation is bracing for potential flooding and landslides from an approaching storm.
On Sunday, the death toll jumped from 304 to at least 1,297, according to CBS News. Additionally, at least 2,800 people have been injured as a result of the devastation and thousands more have been displaced from their homes, many of which have been destroyed or damaged.
Local hospitals have also been overwhelmed with intake since the disaster struck. “Basically, they need everything,” Dr. Inobert Pierre, a pediatrician working at a hospital two hours away from Les Cayes, one of the most impacted areas, told the outlet.
“Many of the patients have open wounds and they have been exposed to not-so-clean elements,” Pierre added. “We anticipate a lot of infections.”
As recovery efforts continue, Haiti has to contend with the arrival of Tropical Depression Grace, which is predicted to make landfall by Monday night, per CNBC.
Although demoted from a tropical storm over the weekend, the National Hurricane Center warns that Grace still has the potential to cause flash flooding and mudslides throughout Haiti and the Dominican Republic through Tuesday.
In a nod to the long-term recovery efforts that will be necessary in Haiti, Prime Minister Ariel Henry has issued a month-long state of emergency, according to the Associated Press.
“The most important thing is to recover as many survivors as possible under the rubble. We have learned that the local hospitals, in particular that of Les Cayes, are overwhelmed with wounded, fractured people,” Henry said over the weekend. “The needs are enormous. We must take care of the injured and fractured, but also provide food, aid, temporary shelter, and psychological support.”
U.S. President Joe Biden announced on Saturday that he had authorized an immediate response, appointing USAID Administrator Samantha Power to coordinate the U.S. recovery efforts.
“Through USAID, we are supporting efforts to assess the damage and assist efforts to recover those who were injured and those who must now rebuild,” he wrote in a statement. “The United States remains a close and enduring friend to the people of Haiti, and we will be there in the aftermath of this tragedy.