Death toll in Haiti rises over 1,400 post a 7.2 magnitude earthquake

Death toll in Haiti rises over 1,400 post a 7.2 magnitude earthquake

Death toll in Haiti rises over 1,400 post a 7.2 magnitude earthquake

Flash floods and mudslides were possible as the front bore down on the Caribbean nation’s southwestern peninsula, which was hard-hit by a 7.2-magnitude quake that toppled thousands of buildings early Saturday. Haiti’s civil protection agency gave a preliminary toll of 1,419 dead and 6,900 injured in the powerful quake that struck about 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the west of the capital Port-au-Prince.

The earthquake, centered about 125 kilometres (80 miles) west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, nearly razed some towns and triggered landslides that hampered rescue efforts in a country that is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti already was struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, gang violence, worsening poverty and the political uncertainty following the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse when the earthquake sent residents rushing to the streets.

Search and rescue teams have been arriving from the United States and Chile, with more on the way from Mexico. Cuban medical teams are already in Haiti and helping people. Humanitarian organisations say survivors need drinking water and shelter. More than 30,000 families have reportedly been left homeless.

Tropical Depression Grace began to drench earthquake-damaged Haiti on Monday, threatening to dump up to 15 inches of rain on a landscape where people are huddling in fields and searching for survivors of a 7.2 earthquake. Tropical Storm Fred grew stronger as it approached northwest Florida, and a third tropical system was forming off Bermuda.

Grace was centered 85 miles southeast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and moving west at 15 mph. It was expected to pass near Hispaniola’s southern coast on Monday, and become a tropical storm again as it passes between Cuba and Jamaica Tuesday on the way to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. A tropical storm watch was in effect for the entire southern coasts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, most of the southern coast of Cuba and the Cayman Islands.

Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry declared a one-month state of emergency for the whole country and said the first government aid convoys had started moving help to areas where towns were destroyed and hospitals were overwhelmed. UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said humanitarian needs were acute, with many Haitians urgently needing healthcare, clean water and shelter. Children separated from their parents also needed protection, she said.