May 19, 2022

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Strained for help after earthquake that killed more than 2,100

Strained for help after earthquake that killed more than 2,100

Lise Cayes, Haiti (AP) – Tensions are rising in Haiti over the slow pace with which aid is reaching victims of a powerful earthquake that killed more than 2,100 people over the weekend in the country’s southwest, an area it later hit. by tropical depression.

At the small airport in the southwestern city of Les Caye, dozens of people gathered behind the terminal fence on Wednesday when a plane arrived with the help of operators and loaded boxes into waiting trucks. A member of the Haitian National Police who was guarding the consignment had to fire two warning shots to disperse a group of young men.

Angry crowds gathered in collapsed buildings and demanded tents to set up temporary shelters after heavy rain from Tropical Storm Grace earlier in the week.

Haiti’s Civil Protection Directorate reported Wednesday night that the death toll from the earthquake had risen from 1,941 to 2,189, with 12,268 injured. Dozens of people are still missing.

Authorities said the 7.2-magnitude quake destroyed more than 7,000 homes, damaged more than 12,000, and left about 30,000 families homeless. Schools, offices and churches were also destroyed or severely damaged.

One of the first deliveries of food by the local authorities — a few dozen rice boxes and pre-measured, pre-packaged food packages — arrived at a camp in one of the poorest districts of Les Caye, where most of the one-story concrete buildings that house the sheet-roof houses have been damaged or destroyed. due to Saturday’s earthquake.

But the shipment was clearly insufficient for hundreds of people who were under tents and tents for five days.

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“It’s not enough, but we’ll do everything we can to make sure everyone gets at least something,” said Vladimir Martino, a camp representative who handled the distribution of the shipment.

Gerda Francoise, 24, was one of dozens of people waiting in the sweltering heat hoping for some food. “I don’t know what I’m going to receive,” he said, “but I need something to take to my shop.” “I have a son.”

International humanitarian workers at the site said that hospitals in the areas most affected by the earthquake were practically out of date and that medical equipment was urgently needed. But the government told the Medishare Project, a foreign organization that has been operating in the country for nearly three decades, that it did not need the help of hundreds of medical volunteers.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced, on Wednesday, that his government will act not to “repeat the history of mismanagement and coordination of aid,” referring to the chaos that followed the devastating earthquake that shook the country in 2010, when the government was accused of not giving everything. Funds raised by donors for those most in need.

The Core Group, a coalition of senior diplomats from the United States and other countries that monitors the situation in Haiti, issued a statement on Wednesday declaring that its members are “strongly committed to working with national and local authorities to ensure that those affected and areas receiving adequate assistance are as soon as possible.”

The earthquake wiped out many sources of food and income that the poor depended on to survive in Haiti, a country also grappling with the coronavirus epidemic, increased violence and the assassination of President Jovenel Moss on July 7.

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Associated Press reporters Trenton Daniel in New York; Christopher Sherman and Regina Garcia-Cano in Mexico City and David McFadden in Baltimore contributed to this report.