Over 700 lives lost in Haiti after devastating earthquake

On Saturday, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. In just one day, the disaster’s death toll has more than doubled.

The earthquake’s epicentre was just 12 km from the town Saint-Louis du Sud. Several aftershocks followed, and are expected to continue over the coming days.

The death toll currently sits at 724. That figure, from Haiti’s Office of Civil Protection, has risen drastically from a previous announcement of 304.

Image: Joseph Odelyn via AP

At least 2,800 people have been injured.

The earthquake shook much of the Caribbean, and buildings have collapsed across Haiti.

Haiti Prime Minister, Dr Ariel Henry, has declared a one-month statement of emergency.

We will make the necessary arrangements to help people affected by the earthquake in the Southern Peninsula,” he said.

I’m mobilising all the resources of my administration.

I extend my sympathies to the parents of the victims.

A tropical storm with torrential rains is forecast for the nation on Monday, which would seriously hamper rescue operations.

Haiti is receiving funds from charities, NGOs and volunteer groups.

However, authorities have asserted that they will clear the distribution of those funds, to avoid the misallocation of support during the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

Following the 2010 earthquake, the Red Cross raised over $500 million for Haiti.

Despite the charity’s claim of providing homes for over 130,000 people affected by the earthquake, only six permanent houses were found to be built.

In a press release, the Red Cross stated that the money went towards helping 4.5 million Haitians get “back on their feet“.

Former Prime Minister of Haiti Jean-Max Bellerive criticised this statement:

No, no, not possible… We don’t have that population in the area affected by the earthquake.”

4.5 million was 100 per cent of the urban area in 2010. One hundred per cent. It would mean the American Red Cross would have served entire cities of Haiti,” he added.

Accordingly, many ask the public not to donate to the Red Cross to support the recent earthquake.

Correct allocation of funds raised for Haiti’s earthquake is critical for the country, which is also suffering from the pandemic.

The most important thing is to recover as many survivors as possible under the rubble,” Prime Minister Dr Henry has said of Saturday’s earthquake.

We have learned that the local hospitals, in particular that of Les Cayes, are overwhelmed with wounded, fractured people“, he added.
A spokesperson for the aid group World Vision Haiti highlighted to CNN that the earthquake has come at an immensely difficult time for the nation.
We’re concerned that this earthquake is just one more crisis on top of what the country is already facing, including the worsening political stalemate after the president’s assassination, Covid and food insecurity,” he said.
The 2010 earthquake left over 1.5 million Haitians homeless, destroying homes, schools and 60% of Haiti’s healthcare system.
It’s likely that the full effects of Saturday’s earthquake cannot yet be quantified.