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Considerable loss of life after 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Haiti

Location of earthquake in Haiti, August 2021
Location of earthquake in Haiti, August 2021
News16 August 2021

Thousands of people have died and thousands more injured after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Saturday morning.

At 8:30am 14 August, an earthquake struck the south-western part of Haiti killing almost 1,300 people (as of Monday 16 August). The death toll is expected to rise as searches continue. Its huge magnitude severely damaged Haiti’s two cities, le Cayes and Jeremic, located in the country’s peninsula.

Early assessments show that almost 7,400 houses were destroyed and almost 4,900 were damaged. Churches, schools, hospitals, hotels and government buildings were among the buildings which collapsed or were badly damaged by the earthquake. Thousands are displaced from their destroyed or damaged homes.

Storm Grace is also expected to hit Haiti this evening.  Concern’s Country Director in Haiti Kwanli Kladstrup said: “With a tropical storm due to hit Haiti today, resultant heavy rains are expected to add to the difficulty of searching for survivors and meeting the humanitarian needs of those left homeless by the earthquake.”

A month-long state of emergency in the country has now been declared.

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.

Ariel Henry - Haiti Prime Minister

Concern’s response

Concern have been working in Haiti since 1994. Our response will be in coordination with our Alliance2015 partners on the ground. The focus is most likely to be around Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), such as donating hygiene kits to those displaced, distributing non-food items, and cash transfers.

“Teams are on the ground assessing the immediate needs of local communities and Concern is ready to respond where needed,” Kwanli Kladstrup said. “We have supplies and vital materials such as plastic sheeting, blankets, soap and cooking utensils, which are ready to be transported to wherever they are needed.”

Tragedy strikes again

Haiti has suffered a number of catastrophes over the last few years, making this disaster even more of a shock to its already fragile system.

12 January 2010, the Haiti earthquake was one of the world’s largest natural disasters on record and took place close to the capital of Port-au-Prince with a population of 2.7 million people. The scale of the earthquake was unprecedented in an urban setting, causing the deaths of over 200,000 people, destroying 250,000 residences, 30,000 commercial buildings and displacing 1.5 million people. Moreover, in 2016, Hurricane Matthew causes massive destruction and displacement.

More recently, on 7th July 2021, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise was assassinated, and the country has seen 20, 507 deaths from Covid-19.

Concern's response in 2010

Concern’s response to the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 started with water and sanitation, and evolved to include child nutrition, aid distributions, the construction of temporary shelters, child-friendly spaces, solar lighting, cash-for-work, and ultimately, a return to safe structures in surrounding neighbourhoods.

For example, In Tabarre, just north of Port au Prince, Concern would lead the construction of temporary, transitional shelters to house 500 families, some 2,500 of the most vulnerable survivors. Additionally, as part of a cash-for-work programme, community members were employed to aid in the construction of Tabarre Issa’s shelters, built on concrete foundations and made of high-quality timber frames reinforced to withstand hurricane-force winds.

Distributions of essential health, household and shelter items continued throughout 2010 in some of the most densely populated urban areas and most remote rural zones, yet perhaps Concern’s most memorable interventions was a partnership with UNICEF and People In Need to establish child-friendly spaces. These were safe places where primary school-age children could find a few hours of refuge that included basic learning, health and hygiene messaging, and, most importantly, play.

Our teams are providing essential support to displaced families but we urgently need your help to reach more people

Your money will go toward emergency programmes in Haiti, helping those affected by the earthquake. 

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