As Haiti struggles to recover from the devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit over the weekend, killing some 1,300 people, the UN is warning that many people are likely to be affected by Tropical Depression Grace, a storm that is expected to bring torrential rain, flooding, and mudslides between Monday and Tuesday.
On Monday, the UN migration agency, IOM, declared that it is focusing on finding safe buildings and shelter for the thousands of people displaced by the earthquake, after more than 13,600 homes were destroyed or severely damaged.
In addition to the dead and wounded, initial reports indicate more than 700 collapsed buildings, including hospitals and schools, more than 13,000 homes destroyed, and significant damage to roads.
“These numbers will grow as data collection progresses”, said Federica Cecchet, IOM’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Haiti. “One of the main priorities in the coming weeks will be the proper management of emergency shelters and humanitarian support for thousands of people who are displaced”.
Three days after the quake, humanitarian teams have not yet reached many areas, especially in the department of Nippes, with transportation hampered by destruction and damage to roads and bridges.
On Sunday, Pierre Honnorat, the head of the World Food Programme in Haiti, explained in a Tweet that, with the road cut off between Les Cayes and Jérémie, it is difficult to get emergency food supplies to those who need them. © WFPWFP Haiti Director Pierre Honnorat speaks with staff at the Sainte Antoine hospital in Jeremie, Haiti, one day after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the country on August 14, 2021.
Acute humanitarian needs
“Health centres, schools, bridges and other essential facilities and infrastructure on which children and families depend have also been impacted – in some cases, irreparably”, said Henrietta Fore, the head of the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, on Sunday.
“The humanitarian needs in affected areas are acute, as essential services have been disrupted. Many people urgently need health care and clean water. Those who are displaced need shelter. Children who have been separated from their families amidst the chaos need protection.”
According to the UN aid coordinating office, OCHA, local hospitals are already overwhelmed with wounded people, especially in Les Cayes and Jérémie; help is being provided by the Red Cross and hospitals in unaffected areas.