Haiti’s latest earthquake to date struck its Saint-Louis du Sud region at about 8:30 a.m on August 14th less than 80 miles from the capital, Port-au-Prince. This is especially bad news considering the presence of COVID-19, economic plight, and the recent assassination of president Jovenel Moïse. President Moïse’s assassination, which took place on July 7th, 2021, has likely delayed rescue efforts due to the loss of leadership. Earthquake response teams have reported at least 1,200 fatalities. More than 5,000 people have been injured.
Infrastructure damages and rubble continues to trouble those who’ve survived the initial wreckage. Overcrowded hospitals, overwhelmed respond teams and mass evacuations have generated international attention for Haiti. United States president, Joe Biden has authorized USAID to assess Haiti’s damages, assist in rescue and aid in rebuilding. Argentina, Chile and even the Vatican gave offered humanitarian intervention for Haiti’s citizens.
Southwestern Haiti was forced to reckon with the brunt of the earthquake. Most sources describe Les Cayes, also known as Aux Cayes (housing a population of roughly 125,000 people), is Haiti’s major southern port. In the city of Les Cayes, churches, hotels, hospitals and schools couched corpses under rubble and fallen property for hours. Another city, Jeremie (population of approximately 97,000 people), experienced hospital swells passed full capacity. Doctors in the city of Jeremie were reportedly forced to treat patients outside of hospitals, underneath trees or any convenient convenient space they could as healthcare facilities ran out of rooms.
Haiti’s Prime Minister and neurosurgeon, Ariel Henry has just announced a one-month state of emergency. As late as I am writing this, August 15, 2021; 9:35 pm, reports continue to surface regarding the total fatality count. Early today, the death toll was estimated to be a little more than 700. However, as rescue teams have recovered considerably more bodies from the rubble of destroyed architecture, the amount of lives lost has nearly doubled.