A week after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck southwest Haiti, 24 people were found alive in the mountainous region of Pic de Macaya, located between the towns of Les Cayes and Jérémie, two of the most affected by the earthquake. Four of the survivors are children.
As reported by the Haitian Civil Protection this Sunday (22), the group was transported by helicopter to the town of Camp-Perrin, northwest of Les Cayes, to receive medical and food assistance.
The official death toll after the earthquake that hit the country on August 14 rose to 2,207 last weekend. At least 344 people are missing and 12,268 others injured.
More material damage is also observed as the local authorities are able to advance slowly in the affected territories. About 130,000 houses were damaged in the earthquake and 600,000 Haitians were directly affected – the country has just over 11 million inhabitants.
Sunday evening, a aftershock, magnitude 4.5, was recorded by the Haitian seismological center in the town of Barradères, in the department of Mamelons. Authorities have not confirmed further damage, but civil protection has urged citizens to beware of buildings that are already cracked.
According to information from the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste, 266 public and private schools were destroyed or partially damaged in the earthquake, and many were still under reconstruction after Hurricane Matthew, which five years ago killed more than 800 in the earthquake. country. . Three students died.
Haitian authorities have struggled to distribute water and food in remote places due to the presence of local gangs, active in the community since the 1990s and blocking some roads. “We have an increasingly obvious security problem,” Civil Protection Director Jerry Chandler told AFP news agency.
On Friday (20), humanitarian convoys from the Christian organization Food for the Poor heading to the most affected towns were looted in the towns of Camp-Perrin, Duchity and Rivière Glace.
Another challenge is not to repeat the strategies adopted during the 2010 earthquake – which killed more than 220,000 people – and which today are considered a failure. One of them resulted in the concentration of people in large informal camps, the so-called IDP camps, which took control of the country after the tragedy and lethargy of international aid.
IOM (International Organization for Migration) coordinator Federica Cecchet said this is a priority to AFP. “There will be no distribution of tents or creation of camps,” he said. “We are going to adopt strategies that allow people to repair and rebuild their homes.”
The large-scale destruction of 2010 damaged 300,000 homes, displacing more than 1.6 million Haitians. The situation has worsened food insecurity in the country, which is expected to repeat itself after the August 14 earthquake.
The precariousness of urban infrastructure was one of the factors that worsened the impact of the earthquake. To this was added the passage of tropical storm Grace the day after the earthquake, making it difficult to rescue the victims of the earthquake.
International humanitarian aid continues to arrive in the country. On Sunday, Brazilian donations arrived: around seven tonnes of emergency equipment and 3.5 tonnes of medicine. Brazil also sent 32 firefighters to help with the work of rescuing the victims.
Switzerland donated 1 million francs (5.9 million BRL) to the Red Cross, which operates in the country. He also sent on Thursday (19) a team with two sanitation specialists, two engineers and a natural disaster specialist to help rebuild the destroyed areas.
The European Union (EU), which has mobilized 3 million euros (18.9 million reais) for the country, announced the dispatch of a team of 12 specialists and two officers from the European Coordination Center of emergency response.