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Earthquake in Haiti: a humanitarian disaster

Published on Wednesday 22 September 2021

The catastrophic earthquake in August devastated entire areas of the island, destroying infrastructure and thousands of buildings. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is providing an emergency response to the immense needs of the affected population.

On Saturday, 14 August 2021, a powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.2 shook the south-west of Haiti with dramatic consequences. A few days after the tremor, the country reported more than 2,000 dead, more than 12,000 injured, and tens of thousands of people left homeless. The United Nations also estimated that by the end of August, nearly 650,000 people were in need of emergency humanitarian assistance in the three most affected departments — Grand’Anse, Nippes and Sud*.

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL, which has been present in the country since 2010, intervened very quickly in the Nippes region by carrying out emergency actions in the field of access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. Our teams provided the affected populations with drinking water and chlorine to treat well water. They also repaired water networks and built emergency latrines.

  • 10.9 million inhabitants
  • 55% of the population live below the poverty line
  • 169th out of 189 on the Human Development Index
  • 495 228 people helped

In this way, we want to reduce the risk of waterborne diseases spreading. Shortly after the 2010 earthquake, a very severe cholera epidemic broke out in Haiti and continued for almost nine years,
warns Justine Muzik Piquemal, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s head of activities in Haiti.

The NGO also immediately provided tarpaulins and ropes to build emergency shelters as well as essential non-food items such as mosquito nets, blankets and cooking equipment.

Our response has had to adapt to a particularly complex situation. Roads have been destroyed, the political and economic crisis is still ongoing, and torrential rains have hit the island. In addition, there has been a significant spread of COVID-19, which is all the more worrying because the health infrastructure has been damaged by the earthquake.

Finally, we must implement an efficient system of organisation so that we can continue to provide aid to the displaced people of Port-au-Prince who have been fleeing the violence of the gang war since June,
conclut la responsable géographique.

*Situation Report, Haiti, OCHA, 26 August 2021

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