Haiti, hit by earthquake, hit by heavy rains after storm hits

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haitians emerged from makeshift shelters on Tuesday to resume rescue and reconstruction efforts after Tropical S...


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haitians emerged from makeshift shelters on Tuesday to resume rescue and reconstruction efforts after Tropical Storm Grace crossed Haiti, who was already in shock a devastating earthquake.

Most of the rain brought by the storm had stopped on Tuesday, and many people in affected areas were searching for their loved ones, searching for supplies and trying to get help from aid groups, including efforts. were hampered by severe flooding across the country. Many had taken refuge in the few public buildings spared by the earthquake.

“In a situation like this, you feel helpless,” said Abiade Lozama, an Anglican archdeacon based in the south of the country, who was hit hard by the earthquake. “A lot of people are in need and there is nothing you can do.” Archdeacon Lozama said hundreds of people rendered homeless by Monday night’s earthquake flocked to a technical school he runs in the town of Les Cayes, seeking shelter from the rain and wind.

Videos circulating on social media showed heavy rains overnight and overnight, hitting towns and villages, posing the risk of flash floods and landslides.

In a video, a man could be seen making his way through muddy water that had flooded a waist-deep street on Monday when the storm hit. Another video showed floodwaters rushing down a street and flooding neighboring houses.

“It’s totally turned into a river,” says one man in the video, which appears to have been shot in the town of Jacmel, on Haiti’s south coast.

Heavy rains also hit those who had gathered in the fields, many of whom were forced to leave their homes. damaged in the 7.2-magnitude earthquake, and others who had sought safety outside for fear of aftershocks that could cause further collapses.

A video published on Monday showed dozens of people trying to take refuge under plastic sheeting provided by the US Agency for International Development, which sent aid to Haiti, as they were hit by gusts of wind that had overthrown their encampment. Earlier today, chaotic scenes unfolded near overcrowded shelters as dozens of people scrambled to find a place to stay before the storm hit the country, according to images from the French public information channel France 24.

In a message posted on Twitter On Monday evening, Haiti’s civil protection agency said heavy rains in the southern region were making the situation for internally displaced people even more difficult and called on residents whose homes had not been affected to help them. shelter them.

The storm complicated an already tenuous relief effort after the earthquake, disrupting an airlift operated by aid groups and the US coastguard between affected areas in southern Haiti and the capital. The only road connecting southern Haiti to Port-of-Prince, the capital, has been the subject of periodic attacks by armed gangs, despite a humanitarian truce offered by some gang leaders in the aftermath of the earthquake.

From Tuesday morning, Grace, who struck Haiti as a tropical depression on Monday night, but then turned into a tropical storm, had moved away from the coast of Haiti and was approaching Jamaica, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Coming after saturday earthquake, the storm compounded problems already faced by the impoverished nation, which was still in the grip of a political crisis brought on by the assassination of its president, Jovenel Moïse, last month.

Investigations into the murder of Mr. Moïse – by assailants who stormed his residence near the capital, Port-au-Prince – have stalled. the newly installed government is vulnerable, the result of a fragile compromise between policies that fought for power for days after the murder.

The relief effort managed from Port-au-Prince airport was largely coordinated by international aid groups and the US Coast Guard. There was no sign from the Haitian authorities, highlighting the power vacuum left in a country without a president or a functioning government.

As Grace made landfall in Haiti, efforts were made to bring aid to the southwest of the country, which had been devastated by the deadly earthquake two days earlier.

The earthquake killed more than 1,400 people and injured nearly 7,000 others, a toll that is expected to increase. Unicef valued Tuesday that about 1.2 million people, including 540,000 children, had been affected by the earthquake.

Thousands of houses have been destroyed, as well as dozens of schools, churches and health centers, according to reports from local authorities.

Memories of the 2010 crippling earthquake – and the chaotic humanitarian response that followed – are still alive in Haitians’ minds, and the government has promised a more effective response this time around. But the delivery of aid to the southwest has been hampered by logistical problems and medical facilities are lacking in this part of the country.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry said on Sunday that all aid received by the country would be managed by a single operations center in Port-au-Prince to prevent humanitarian aid from arriving “out of order”, like this has often been the case in 2010, leaving many people excluded. rescue efforts.

In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, the country received the nickname “Republic of NGOs” after non-governmental organizations became the main channel for humanitarian aid, essentially filling the void left by weak government institutions.

Several countries, like Mexico, have sent aid to Haiti in recent days and the United States has sent a search and rescue team. On Tuesday, the European Union announced it is allocating € 3 million, about $ 3.5 million, in humanitarian funding to help affected communities.

“The EU is rapidly mobilizing its support for this already extremely fragile country, where hurricanes and heavy rains make the dire situation even worse”, Janez Lenarcic, the bloc’s crisis management commissioner, said in a press release.

Paul Farmer, doctor and co-founder of relief agency Partners in Health, which oversees several hospitals in Haiti, said the country has implemented new emergency medical services in the meantime, greatly improving its capacity. to respond to an earthquake.

“This time,” he said, “the idea is, how can we coordinate the response so that it doesn’t become a burden on Haitians?

Anatoly Kurmanayev reported from Port-au-Prince and Constant Méheut from Paris.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Haiti, hit by earthquake, hit by heavy rains after storm hits
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