Thousands injured, homeless after the worst earthquake of the decade hit Haiti over the weekend.
A massive 7.2-magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti on Saturday, killing at least 1,941 and injuring 9,900 people. Thousands of people were left with damaged or no home in Les Cayes, where the earthquake caused a rampage by crumbling buildings and destroying lives and properties.
The quake destroyed 13,694 homes and damaged another 13,785, according to the country's civil protection agency. Hospitals, homes, and churches have been flattened in the affected areas. Some survivors took shelter on streets and soccer fields, awaiting treatments, while overflooded hospitals struggled to tend the patients.
Several aftershocks followed later on Saturday, with a 5.2-magnitude aftershock hitting about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) west-northwest of Cavaillon, Haiti, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Another aftershock of 5.1-magnitude followed later in the noon.
The earthquake in Haiti has left at least 1,200 people dead, an official says. More than 2,800 homes have been destroyed and thousands more damaged.https://t.co/3vWPyJiZVU— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) August 15, 2021
"When it comes to medical needs, this is our biggest urgency. We have started to send medications and medical personnel to the facilities that are affected. For the people who need urgent special care, we have evacuated a certain number of them, and we will evacuate some more today and tomorrow," said Prime Minister Ariel Henry in a statement. The Prime Minister declared a one-month state of emergency for the entire country, as well as sending aids to the worst affected areas.
To worsen the condition, tropical storm Grace has struck the Caribbean nation on Monday night with at least 10 inches of rain, making it challenging for rescuers to search amid the rubbles. The storm is feared to bring floods and landslides in the already devastated parts of the country.
⚡️ Earthquake in Haiti: Survivors seek help in overcrowded hospitals as storms exacerbate the humanitarian crisis https://t.co/QmXcafe3IS— Reuters (@Reuters) August 17, 2021
The deadly quake had struck at 8.30 a.m. on Saturday, 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 nation has already been struggling with the ongoing pandemic, presidential assassination, poverty, and political violence when the quake has pushed more than 30,000 of the residents to the streets, shelterless. Patients have poured in the hospitals of Les Cayes even two days after the calamity, making the medical facilities struggle to provide adequate space.
"Many of the patients have open wounds and they have been exposed to not-so-clean elements," said Dr. Inobert Pierre, a pediatrician who visited two hospitals in Les Cayes, one with some 200 patients, the other with around 90. "We anticipate a lot of infections."
However, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there were "less significant damages than initially expected."
"The most urgent humanitarian needs are expected to be linked to the provision of medical assistance and water, sanitation and hygiene," the organization said.
Rescue teams from the United States, Chile, Mexico, and Cuba continue to search for the debris amidst Monday's heavy rain. Sixty-five first responders and four dogs with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department of Virginia reached Haiti on Sunday to aid in searching, officials said.
Haiti has its history of devastating earthquakes claiming countless lives and properties in the past. Few of the earliest recorded major quakes date back to 1751, 1770, and 1860. The last catastrophe before 2021 dates back to January 2010, which killed more than 300,000 people and destroyed homes of 1.5 million.
In a statement on Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden expressed deepest condolences for the quake victims. Officials from several Latin American countries including Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, Foreign Ministry of Panama, President Ivan Duque of Columbia, announced their support to Haiti on Twitter.
If you are willing to help Haiti in this time of distress, you can check these organizations or click on charitynavigator.org to search for other legitimate foundations offering aid.
Have you or anyone you know experienced earthquakes before? Share with us in the comments below.
*This is an ongoing story and will be updated with more information. Refresh for updates!