Authorities in charge of the relief efforts after Saturday's earthquake in Haiti Sunday announced the death toll had reached 1,297 and counting. After the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the Richter scale that struck the southwest of the country, there were five aftershocks, including one of magnitude 5.2 17 kilometers from the town of Chantal, also with an epicenter 10 kilometers deep.
Various countries have expressed their solidarity with Haiti, where another earthquake left 300,000 deaths in 2010.
Haiti is considered the poorest country in the hemisphere and has also been hit recently by a political commotion when President Jovenel Moïse was shot dead by a commando group at his home on July 7.
The epicenter of the earthquake occurred 12 kilometers from the city of Saint-Louis-du-Sud, located about 160 km from Port-au-Prince, the country's capital, a fact that was later confirmed by the United States Geological Survey.
From the first moment of the earthquake, and because most of the constructions in Haiti do not have seismic protection systems, civil organizations already predicted that there would be hundreds of deaths that the earthquake would have left, and after noon, officially The Civil Protection agency, without giving figures at the time, echoed the fear of the devastating impact and assured that there would be hundreds of injured and missing.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry said at least 1,800 people were injured after the earthquake, which is why hospitals in the area most affected by the earthquake (Western Department, Southern Department, Nippes and Grand'Anse) are overcrowded and cannot provide enough for care for all patients.
“When it comes to medical needs, this is our greatest urgency. We have begun to send medicines and medical personnel to the facilities that are affected,” Henry said.
According to Jerry Chandler, Director of the Civil Protection agency, a good part of the deceased people were reported in the department of Grand-Anse, the city of Cayes and Nippes, in southern Haiti.
Henry also explained that due to the time at which the earthquake occurred, there were many people crowded in churches, so it is feared that the number of deaths in those places is greater.
The Government has decided this morning to declare a state of emergency for a month after this catastrophe, said Henry. “The earth has trembled. It trembled, especially in the south and in Nippes and caused a lot of damage. The first pieces of information make us believe that there are several injured, that there are many dead and houses collapsed. Now there are many people under the rubble. Especially in hotels and places of worship.
The United States has set in place an aid plan for Haiti, and President Joseph Biden has already created a support group. The president authorized an immediate response from the United States, and appointed the administrator of USAID, Samantha Power, as the senior US official in charge of coordinating this effort,” according to White House sources.
“Our experts are already on the ground, assessing the damage and the needs. We are acting urgently to respond,” Power said.