A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the south of Haiti at 8:29am on Saturday, 14 August. The earthquake was also felt in other Caribbean islands, like Jamaica and Cuba. This earthquake was stronger than the 2010 quake that devastated the nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince.
Although estimates of the destruction, casualties, and the full impact on lives and livelihoods are still developing, our ACT Haiti Forum reports that the magnitude of the impact has been devastating and hospitals are overwhelmed. The latest reports from the Haiti civil protection report more than 1200 deaths and 5700 wounded in the South department, specifically in the Nippe and Grand-Anse areas. More than 14,000 families have been affected in the three departments.
The ACT Haiti Forum and their partners are engaging in immediate needs assessments and coordination. They have issued an alert on the situation, which is available here.
Destruction hinders relief operations
Thousands of houses have been damaged or destroyed, and approximately 60% of the population has been affected, according to the civil protection forces based in the south of the island. Some routes of communication, as well as infrastructure including roads have also been damaged, which will affect the relief operations. Some communities are now only accessible by air or boat due to roads damaged or blocked by the earthquake or the subsequent landslides.
Many aftershocks are making the situation worse and more unstable. The government fears this earthquake could be worse than the one that hit Haiti in 2010. Further exacerbating the situation, Haiti is currently in the direct path of Tropical Storm Grace, which is expected to make landfall between 16 and 17 August, exposing an already vulnerable population to tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain that could trigger life-threatening flash floods and landslides.
ACT Forum coordinates response
The ACT Forum met on Sunday 15th August with partners and members on the ground to assess the situation and an alert which will be shared with ACT members. Tents and shelters have already been installed at the OFATMA Hospital and deployment of volunteers to help with rescue operations and assess the damage.
The ACT Forum members are working synergically to support each other and meet the immediate needs of the population affected by this tragedy. The initial interventions will focus on distribution of shelter kits, WASH activities and distribution of water as well as psychosocial support.
Haiti Forum Co-chair Prospery Raymond said, “In the Haiti Forum, we have spent more than two years supporting our partners and some communities to include Survivor and Community Led Responses in their ways of working. SCLR allows people to be the leaders in humanitarian response, ensuring that the work of ACT members is appropriate and effective, and respects the needs, expertise, and leadership of those affected by this disaster.”
The humanitarian situation might worsen due to the weather conditions. Tropical Depression Grace is expected to provoke heavy rainfall which could lead to flash flooding in Haiti, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic.
ACT Alliance is currently monitoring the situation and is supporting local partners to carry out rapid needs assessments in affected areas. Emergency teams are preparing to be deployed. The forum plans to raise an appeal pending their needs assessment analysis.
The ACT Haiti Forum reports the following immediate needs:
- Tents and tarpaulins, temporary shelters, flashlights, emergency power generators;
- hygiene kits, clothes, water, and food; first aid kits;
- Health workers, rescuers (at least 10 people per municipality affected);
- Fuel, vehicles, mobile phones, and SIM cards
Key contacts to support the relief operations in Haiti
ACT has set up two WhatsApp groups to keep members apprised of the developing situation. The first is aimed at humanitarian specialists and can be joined by emailing your WhatsApp details to Carlos Rauda, Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean (firstname.lastname@example.org). The second is for communications and fundraising efforts and can be joined by emailing your WhatsApp details to Simon Chambers, Director of Communications (email@example.com).
Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to the Head of Humanitarian Affairs, Niall O’Rourke (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Director of Operations, Nancy Ette (Nancy.email@example.com), with copy to the Finance Officer, Marjorie Schmidt