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Haiti: UN and partners mobilize resources to help in the earthquake aftermath

16 Aug 2021

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Les Cayes, Sud department, 14 August 2021. © UNDSS

UN agencies and partners are mobilizing resources and personnel and supporting the Government of Haiti with assessments and relief response following the earthquake that hit Haiti over the weekend. 

Yesterday, 15 August, Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths allocated US$8 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund to support the humanitarian response. The allocation will provide essentials such as health care, clean water, emergency shelter and sanitation for people affected by the disaster. 

Access to the southern peninsula – where the 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit – is challenging due to gangs controlling movements. Local authorities are negotiating access, and an initial convoy of six vehicles with staff from UN agencies and the Government travelled to the affected area yesterday, 15 August. Further convoys carrying supplies will travel today.

Staff from the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams are also arriving in the country to support coordination and assessments. 

As of yesterday evening (15 August), the death toll had risen to 1,297 killed and more than 5,700 injured, according to Haiti’s Civil Protection Department. 

The health system in affected areas is being overwhelmed, as health workers are assisting the injured while also contending with the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of COVID-19 patients is expected to increase in the coming days and weeks.

While assessments are still in their early stages, more than 13,000 homes have been destroyed and more than 13,000 have sustained damages. These figures are likely to increase significantly in the coming hours. 

The latest earthquake, similar in magnitude to the quake that devastated the country in 2010 and left hundreds of thousands of people dead and displaced, has toppled churches and schools, and severely curtailed electricity in the affected areas.

Tropical Storm Grace is expected to pass over Haiti tomorrow (17 August), bringing heavy rainfall that could lead to flash floods and mudslides.