Haiti’s death toll from a powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake is running into the thousands with many more injured after the tragedy.
Jerry Chandler, the Haiti office of civil protection director, said rescuers were continuing to search for possible survivors under the rubble but the devastation is so widespread that resources will take many more days to cover the worst affected areas. This has already caused many complaints that the government is not responding fast and extensive enough, international reporters are claiming.
Saturday’s earthquake struck the south-western part of the Caribbean’s poorest nation, almost razing some towns and triggering landslides that hampered rescue efforts in two of the hardest-hit communities. When it struck, Haitians rushed into the streets to seek safety and to help rescue those trapped in the rubble of collapsed homes, hotels and other structures.
The prime minister, Ariel Henry, said he was rushing aid to areas where towns were destroyed and hospitals overwhelmed with patients. A former senator rented a private plane to move injured people from Les Cayes to Port-au-Prince for medical assistance.
The disaster added to the plight of Haitians already grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, a presidential assassination and a wave of gang violence.
The epicentre of the quake was about 78 miles west of the capital Port-au-Prince, the US Geological Survey said. The pervasive damage could worsen this week unfortunately, as tropical storm Grace was predicted to reach Haiti by Tuesday, bringing torrential rains.
Aftershocks have been a problem. Many people left homeless or frightened that their fractured homes would collapse are staying in the streets to attempt to sleep.