Rains flooded the third-largest Caribbean country over the weekend resulting in deadly floods across the western, southeastern, and central regions.
According to the Haiti Civil Protection Agency, the death toll is estimated to be more than 50, with over 30,000 homes being destroyed in the process and several others being injured. The World Food Program believes that tens of thousands of people will be affected by this flood due to the damaged crops. Witnesses recall the roads turning to rushing rivers, carrying everything with them.
“A significant weather-induced event of this level so early in the hurricane season…raises concerns about the ability to provide a sustained response should extreme weather incidents continue to occur,” the World Food Agency said in the Associated Press.
On Tuesday, another natural disaster struck.
At least four were killed and dozens of others were injured in a 4.9 magnitude earthquake that followed the flooding. According to the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake struck before dawn in the southern coastal city of Jeremie. It was reported to be a shallow tremor occurring six miles below the surface.
The Haiti Civil Protection Agency says that when two homes collapsed during the quake, it resulted in a major block to a key route between Jeremie Les Cayes.
“Disasters keep hitting Haiti, left and right,” Dr. Didinu Tamakloe, Haiti director for Project Hope, a U.S. aid organization, said to ABC. “People have not had sufficient time to recover from previous disasters, only to be hit by flash floods, an earthquake and landslides in a matter of days.”
Haiti is no stranger to deadly disasters.
This earthquake came nearly two years after a 7.2 magnitude struck southern Haiti, causing the most damage to Les Cayes. It was estimated that more than 2,200 people died and countless others were displaced. In 2010, a 7-magnitude quake hit the heavily populated capital of Port-au-Prince. At least 200,000 people died as a result of the natural disaster which resulted in widespread devastation.
These struggles are further worsened by the fact that Haiti is a developing, lower-income country. It is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. As a result, the quality of their infrastructure combined with the continuous natural disasters make it very hard for them to recover properly.
“I am particularly concerned by this situation at a time when the Haitian population is already highly vulnerable,” Jean-Martin Bauer, Haiti’s acting humanitarian coordinator, said about the recent storms and flooding.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry is seeking international aid to help his country recover from the two most recent natural disasters. Many rescuers are concerned about when or if aid will arrive. The Haitian Red Cross stated on their Twitter that several volunteers have mobilized and “efforts are continuing to find survivors and evaluate their needs”.
“Things are so unbelievably fragile,” Nadesha Mijoba, who runs the Haitian Health Foundation, said to the Miami Herald. “The availability of supplies is so sporadic. We’ve had to find different options to keep things coming in.”
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