The death toll count has continued to rise in Haiti just days after a catastrophic 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean nation. According to CNN, as of Wednesday (Aug. 18), over 2,189 people have been confirmed dead and more than 12,268 injured. Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry called on the people of his country to “unite to rebuild Haiti” and said that the government is working to provide aid to the affected areas.
“We launch a solemn appeal to all of us to show solidarity to the victims,” he said. “We launch a solemn appeal to all of us, to myself and my members in political, private, diaspora, civil society, to work on an appropriate response to the needs of the southern population.”
Henry also urged the citizens to be mindful of the spread of COVID-19 during search and recovery efforts. “We lost many people in the disaster, let’s avoid losing more because of the pandemic,” he said.
The deadly earthquake struck last Saturday morning (Aug. 14), impacting 1.2 million people. UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, estimated that $15 million is needed “to respond to the most urgent needs of at least 385,000 people” affected by the earthquake for the next eight weeks.
The U.S. Department of Defense formed a joint task force to assist USAID with relief. Additionally, the European Union and the United Nations designated more than $11 million in relief aid for Haiti.
“Little more than a decade on, Haiti is reeling once again,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “And this disaster coincides with political instability, rising gang violence, alarmingly high rates of malnutrition among children and the COVID-19 pandemic — for which Haiti has received just 500,000 doses, despite requiring far more.”
“It is now especially urgent to reach those impacted by the earthquake with vaccines.”