Aug 19, 2021 - World
Haiti quake death toll tops 2,000 as anger grows over lack of aid
Saturday's earthquake in Haiti left the country "on its knees," Prime Minister Ariel Henry said Wednesday as the Civil Protection Agency raised the death toll to nearly 2,200.
Driving the news: Frustration and anger continue to grow across Haiti over the slow pace of aid reaching affected areas, AP reported. Tens of thousands were left homeless, 12,268 people were injured and over 300 are still missing, officials said.
- "As a judge, I must not have a political opinion. But as a man, as a man concerned about the situation of my country, nothing is working. They didn't do anything to prepare for this disaster," Pierre Cenel, a judge in Les Cayes, said of the government, per Reuters.
- Search and rescue efforts were further complicated as Tropical Storm Grace lashed the country with strong winds and heavy rain earlier this week.
- Hospitals and clinics in affected areas were either destroyed or completely overwhelmed by the scores of injured in need of attention.
- "We need help," Roosevelt Milford, a pastor speaking on behalf of hundreds displaced and camped out in a field in Les Cayes, pleaded on the radio, per Reuters.
What they're saying: "Haiti is now on its knees," Henry said in a Wednesday evening address.
- "The earthquake that devastated a large part of the south of the country proves once again our limits, and how fragile we are," he added.
- “We have to put our heads together to rebuild Haiti," he said. “The country is physically and mentally destroyed."
- Henry also said that officials are working to not "repeat history on the mismanagement and coordination of aid." It was a reference to mismanagement and chaos surrounding how aid was distributed following the devastating 2010 earthquake, AP noted.
The big picture: Saturday's magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck the country as it continues to reel from last month's assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, the coronavirus pandemic, extreme poverty and worsening violence.
- Government officials and the United Nations estimate that about half of the nearly 800,000 people affected by the earthquake are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
- Assistance has been slowed, however, due to the weather and as the UN and government authorities negotiate with gangs who control roads and other areas in and around the affected cities and towns.