Haiti is in a state of emergency after a devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean nation Saturday (Aug. 14). The death toll has risen to nearly 1,300 people and more than 5,700 have been reported as injured, according to Haiti’s civil protection agency.
The agency claims most of the deaths have occurred in the southern region of the country, where at least 500 people have died. The quake destroyed 2,868 homes and damaged another 5,410, officials from the civil protection agency noted. The destruction has damaged roads, businesses, and lives.
“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,” Prime Minister Ariel Henry said. “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.”
Henry did not initially ask for aid from neighboring countries or from the U.S., however, President Biden said through USAID America is supporting Haiti’s efforts to assess the damage and assisting their efforts to recover and rebuild.
Haiti’s neighbor the Dominican Republic and Mexico have sent food and medicine by air and across Haiti’s land border, Reuters reports. USAID administrator Samantha Power announced the U.S. has also delivered supplies and deployed a 65-person urban search-and-rescue team with specialized equipment.
Haiti’s former first lady, Martine Moise, said her heart “hurts” for the embattled country that has had to deal with the tragic death of her husband and the earthquake in the past two months, CNN reports.
“The initial information that I have received from Grand’Anse is heart-wrenching,” she said. “It hurts my heart for the kids, the mothers, the elderlies, the handicaps, my friends, and all the victims of this earthquake… My brothers and sisters, we have to put our shoulders together to come together to demonstrate our solidarity. It is our togetherness that makes up our strength and resilience. Courage, I will always be by your side.”