Rescue team racing in Haiti threatening storms to follow quakes

Les Cayes, Haiti (AP)

Haiti’s magnitude 7.2 earthquake surged on Sunday as rescuers competed in the rubble for survivors before the floods caused by the approaching tropical cyclones.

The quake on Saturday killed at least 724 people and injured 2,800 in the Caribbean island nation, and displaced thousands more from destroyed or damaged homes. Survivors in some areas were forced to evacuate to streets and soccer fields with few recovered belongings while overloaded hospitals were scrambling to help the injured.

However, the arrival of a tropical cyclone grace, which was predicted to reach Haiti on Monday night, could quickly exacerbate the devastation, creating the potential for torrential rains, floods and landslides. The National Hurricane Center predicts that it will rain 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and up to 15 inches in the southern part of the island. Since then, the Haitian government has declared a state of emergency.

WINK News reporter Emma Heaton was able to talk to someone on the island who was broken and scared. Gesner Deslandes heard a bark on Saturday.

“Well, I was paralyzed. I couldn’t move while walking down the street,” said Deslandes.

The quake struck the southwestern part of the poorest countries in the hemisphere, hitting almost a few towns, causing landslides and hindering rescue efforts in countries already tackling the coronavirus pandemic, presidential assassination, and waves of gang violence. I did.

According to the US Geological Survey, the epicenter was about 125 km (78 miles) west of the Port-au-Prince capital, with aftershocks continuing on Sunday.

In the heavily damaged coastal town of Les Cayes, some families recovered some of their belongings and spent the night on an outdoor soccer field. On Sunday morning, people lined up at the local street market to buy bananas, avocados, water, and other available items.

Some in the town praised God for surviving the earthquake, and many went to the city’s cathedral. The cathedral was apparently intact when the monk’s residence was destroyed.

“We only have Jesus right now,” said John Doseley, 58, whose house was destroyed. “Without Jesus, I wouldn’t have been here today.”

Deslandes said it sounded like an earthquake that survived in 2010. To him, it seemed that people were rushing out to the streets to save themselves and others as they tried to run.

“They stood in the middle of the highway,” said Deslandes. Sadly, the running people couldn’t stop the land from collapsing under their feet. “It’s something we’re never used to. We never know what to do or what to do.”

Prime Minister Ariel Henry has declared a state of emergency nationwide for a month and said he is rushing to help areas where towns have been destroyed and hospitals have been overwhelmed. A former senator rented a private plane to move the injured from Les Cayes to Port-au-Prince for medical assistance.

“The most important thing is to recover as many survivors as possible under the rubble,” Henry said. “I learned that local hospitals, especially Les Cayes hospitals, are overwhelmed by injured and broken people.”

Sunday counts from Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency increased the previous death toll from 304 deaths. The agency said more than 7,000 homes were destroyed and nearly 5,000 were damaged. Hospitals, schools, offices and churches were also affected.

The tragedy has been added to everything Haiti has already experienced. Skyler Badenoch is the CEO of Hope for Haiti, a non-profit organization based in Naples.

“Hope for Haiti has been working in southern Haiti for over 32 years,” said Badenoch. He has worked for years to help Haiti, even before this became a recent earthquake.

“There are 60 staff members. All Haitian doctors, nurses, educators and managers,” he said.

The hospital was overwhelmed at the moment Haiti suffered from a pandemic and lack of resources to deal with it. Last month, 11 million countries received the first batch of coronavirus vaccine donated by the United States through a UN program for low-income countries.

Health care workers throughout the region were struggling for help as Les Cayes hospitals began to run out of space for surgery.

“Basically, they need everything,” said Dr. Innovator Pierre, a non-profit health equity international pediatrician who oversees St. Boniface Hospital, about two hours from Les Cayes.

“Many patients have open wounds and are exposed to less clean elements,” added Pierre, who visited two hospitals in Les Cayes. Of infectious diseases. “

Pierre’s medical team took some patients to St. Boniface Hospital for surgery, but with only two ambulances, they could only carry four patients at a time.

A small plane from a private company and Florida-based missionary service Agape Flight landed at Port-au-Prince Airport on Sunday, carrying about six injured earthquake victims from the Les Cayes area. Bandaged young men and women were lifted on stretchers waiting for the Haiti Red Cross ambulance.

Silvestre Plaza Rico, who oversaw one of the volunteer flights, said rescue planes airlifted several half a dozen injured victims each Saturday. “There were a lot, a lot, a lot of people from different towns,” said Plaza Rico.

A little over a month after President Jovenel Moise was shot dead at home, an earthquake struck the country in political turmoil. His widow, Martine Moise, who was seriously injured in the attack, posted a message on Twitter calling for the unity of the Haitians.

When boarding a plane to Les Cayes, Henry said “Structure” to ensure that the response was coordinated to avoid the turmoil following the 2010 catastrophic earthquake, where aid was slow to reach residents. He said he wanted a “transformed solidarity.”

The Badenoch team has already arrived in Haiti and is ready to respond. “Currently, we have plans to bring about $ 60 million in medicines, medicines and medical devices into the country and work to support clinics operating in southern Haiti. About 25,000 patients annually.” He said.

Badenoch said his team also responded to the 2010 earthquake. They are working to carry out multiple plans to help the Haitian people.

US President Joe Biden has appointed USAID administrator Samantha Power to approve the immediate response and oversee US efforts to support Haiti.

Power announced on Sunday that USAID has sent a search and rescue team from Virginia at the request of the Haitian government. Power said on Twitter that a team of 65 people would bring specialized tools and medical supplies to assist in disaster response.

The US Coast Guard, in collaboration with USAID, said helicopters were transporting medical personnel from the Haiti capital to the seismic zone and evacuating the injured to Port-au-Prince. Lieutenant Jason Niemann, a spokesman, said another helicopter was being sent from the Bahamas, along with other aircraft and ships.

Mr. Deslandes said he needed a lot of help from everyone. “I know some help is coming. You have to maintain your faith to wait for those help.”

Already on the scene, there were several members of 253 medical missions to Haiti, Cuba, and state media in a socialist country showed photos of them providing first aid to victims injured in the earthquake. ..

North Carolina-based aid group Samaritan’s Purse announced on Sunday that it will airlift 13 disaster response specialists and 31 tonnes of emergency supplies to Haiti. These include shelter materials and water filtration units.

Humanitarian activists said gang activities in the seaside district of Martissant, just west of Haiti’s capital, also complicate relief efforts.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement that the southern peninsula of Haiti was a “hotspot for gang-related violence” and that humanitarian workers, including Doctors Without Borders, were repeatedly attacked in June. Said that. Authorities said the area was “virtually unreachable” for the past two months due to disability and security concerns.

“The combination of all these factors creates significant logistics challenges in reaching the most affected areas,” the agency added, adding that evacuation “is ripe for the proliferation of COVID-19 infections.” I created it. “

Haiti, where many people live in sparse conditions, is vulnerable to earthquakes and hurricanes. A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck in 2018, killing more than 12 people.

The 2010 magnitude 7.0 earthquake approached the densely populated Port-au-Prince and caused widespread destruction. The Haitian government has killed more than 300,000 people, but reports commissioned by the US government have between 46,000 and 85,000.

Pope Francis on Sunday expressed his intimacy with the people of Haiti, including prayers to the victims and encouragement to the survivors. The Pope called for solidarity with the international community “to help mitigate the consequences of the tragedy.”

Rescue team racing in Haiti threatening storms to follow quakes

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