In the poorest country in America, Haiti or Atlantic Somalia, the second deadliest earthquake – with 7.2 on the Richter scale – in the history of the continent was registered on Saturday morning. The first was that of 2010, which dragged, or rather crushed, more than 200,000 souls. This time, 2,189 deaths and 12,300 injured are counted that in the absence of a population census it would be much higher. What’s more, 322 people are still missing and 522 deaths have been added to the tragic list in a single day. Four days later, the tragedy has been aggravated by the appearance of the Grace storm and the lack of medical supplies that complicates the survival of those affected and the resuscitation practices of the victims, respectively. UNICEF alerts that 1.2 million (including 540,000 children) is the affected population mass and half a million minors have zero access to basic services.
What’s more, the morgues are overflowing in Los Cayos with its managers facing the crisis to give the victims a dignified and restful rest, a task that is normally very complicated in Haiti. Hospitals are “overwhelmed”, according to the WHO, and it is that a score of assistance centers suffered damage. The possibility of diarrheal, respiratory and skin diseases, which on that side of the Caribbean island can lead to death, are the new fronts that Haitians will face. To do this, “guaranteeing adequate water and sanitation” is essential, says Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization.
Haitian media speak
Klody Jean, journalist and director of the radio RAE (Equality in Haiti), denounces for ABC the theft of food before reaching the victims. Something frequent with NGO resources that their links will then sell to the highest bidder: “I am afraid that the aid will not be used in the service of the victims as happened on January 12, 2010”. “People will become more miserable” that in the previous catastrophe, he confesses as a summary of the dramatic situation of his compatriots.
Jean has contacted the family of Marie Rachelle Blanc, earthquake victims, who narrate their anguish at not being able to leave their house on time. For more than a minute they felt its consequences. In 2010 yes that they managed to vacate their home despite the fact that the earthquake was faster. On this occasion, “the victims will suffer for a long time,” he declares. Blanc’s vision agrees with the Haitian media: “The victims had a much better attendance than today.”
Adrián Fernández Cerezal (40), who has been working in international cooperation for 12 years in areas such as Palestine, experienced the 2010 earthquake in the post-emergency and now it’s his turn to help in first person from the Italian NGO AVSI. From the Keys, the epicenter of the disaster, and which added to the other two affected areas encompass a million inhabitants, they recognize us disorganization in the distribution of food. Haiti is experiencing the chaos of catastrophe with its recent prime minister, Ariel Henry, promising «Multiply by ten» the efforts in the rescue. At the same time, according to the New York Times, he expressed his frustration to the US ambassador at the slow pace of international aid.
However, a ray of hope opens with the shipment of Doctors Without Borders that prepares 80 tons of sanitary material that will arrive in Haiti over the weekend while many municipalities continue isolated for the ground slides.
The UN, once again to the rescue
The UN has mobilized in the integration of resources for the installation of shelters and basic services. “It was negotiated with local gangs to allow access for aid convoys and they are making efforts to mobilize health personnel to the most affected area ”, they clarify. The specific mission of MINUJUSTH, in support of the United Nations Justice, withdrew from the island on October 15, 2019, worsening the Haitian scene. “A great change was noticed”, say from AYMY, the NGO of the Spanish Lucia Lantero, located in the southeast of Haiti, near the border with the Dominican Republic. Up to 5,000 euros in donations, “A drop in the ocean for Haitian needs” have achieved distribute transformed into essential food among the affected population. Spain has sent a small expedition of three firefighters and a nurse to support the country in a joint mission of the European Union.
Haiti, the first black republic in history, produced in the 18th century, on slave plantations, 60% of the coffee and 40% of the sugar consumed in Europe. After its independence it suffered a trade embargo with a diplomatic blockade. Formerly spurred on and now de-institutionalized, by the intrinsic corruption of the system, it continues to be America’s victim.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism