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7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Haiti

Haiti was hit by 7.2 magnitude earthquake. It struck off the coast of Haiti at 8:28am Saturday morning (8/14). In January of 2010, Haiti experienced a 7.0M where more than 220,000 people died.

The death toll from this most recent earthquake has already surpassed 1,200 along with over 5,700 injured. More than 27,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged. The death toll is expected to rise amid reports that some neighborhoods had been leveled.

A spokesman with World Vision Haiti, Jean-Wickens Merone said, "We're concerned that this earthquake is just one more crisis on top of what the country is already facing -- including the worsening political stalemate after the president's assassination, COVID, and food insecurity." Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Grace is currently bearing down on Haiti and will produce high winds and heavy rain which could lead to flooding and mudslides.

Mayor of the coastal town Jeremie, Milord Claude Harry said 400 families whose homes were destroyed were sleeping on the streets and that communities on its outskirts were running out of water and medicine. There still had been no contact with the more remote communities. Harry said, “People there are on their own.”

The Biden administration appointed USAID Administrator Samantha Power to lead the United States' humanitarian efforts. The United Nations said that relief operations were confronting restrictions due to violent gangs hindering the capacity of humanitarian actors to operate normally and reach affected populations.

Haitian authorities are insistent that all aid be channeled and cleared through them. Prime Minister Ariel Henry said, “All aid must be coordinated through the Civil Protection to prevent the errors of 2010.”

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