More than 1,400 dead in Haiti earthquake

earth tremor

More than 1,400 people have died after a magnitude-7.2 earthquake hit Haiti at the weekend.

The death toll has risen to 1,419 with 6,900 people injured, the Caribbean nation’s civil protection authority chief Jerry Chandler said in a briefing on Monday.

Rescue services and aid deployments are continuing to operate.

It is expected that many more people are still under the rubble of buildings that collapsed in the quake.

Rescuers were under pressure as tropical depression Grace approached with winds of up to 55 kilometres per hour.

The weather threatens to worsen the situation in areas hit by the quake, Haiti’s civil protection agency said. The US hurricane centre warned of flooding and landslides.

“As of this Monday, we will act with greater speed,” Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry said on Twitter.

“Aid management will be stepped up. We are going to increase our energies tenfold to reach the maximum number of victims possible,” Henry wrote.

The quake struck on Saturday morning around 12 kilometres from the municipality of Saint-Louis-du-Sud at a depth of around 10 kilometres.

Numerous buildings were destroyed and photos from the area showed people picking through the rubble of their homes.

At least 13,700 houses were destroyed and just as many damaged. More than 30,000 families were affected, the newspaper Le Nouvelliste reported.

“Thousands of people are still on the streets looking for their loved ones or trying to salvage some of their belongings from under the rubble,” said Marcelo Viscarra, country director of children’s charity World Vision in Haiti.

According to Caritas International, the main items needed are food, drinking water, tents and primary health care.

Hospitals were overloaded. In the courtyard of a hospital in Jeremie, one of the worst-hit towns, injured people waited in tents for treatment, as seen in a video posted on social media.

Haiti, considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is still living with the impact of the January 12, 2010, magnitude-7.0 earthquake that killed some 220,000 people and left 1 million people homeless. Damage from that earthquake, which struck near densely populated Port-au-Prince, was estimated at 8 billion dollars.

Haiti has also been in political turmoil since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July. He was shot dead in a middle-of-the-night attack at his residence by a heavily armed commando force.

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