LIS CAES, Haiti (AP) – Tropical depression Grace Grace heavy rain in Haiti just two days after a powerful earthquake rocked the impoverished Caribbean nation, adding to the misery of thousands of people who lost loved ones, were injured or left homeless and forced overcrowded hospitals and rescue workers to Move quickly.
After dark, torrential rain and strong winds hit the southwest, the area hardest hit by Saturday’s earthquake, and authorities warned that rainfall could sink up to 38 centimeters (15 inches) of water in some areas before the storm continues its path. The capital, Port-au-Prince, also experienced heavy rain.
Grace arrived in the country on the same day the Civil Protection Agency raised the death toll from the earthquake to 1,419 and injured to 6,000, many of whom were waiting for medical help outside due to the stifling heat.
Rain and wind in Grace increased the risk of landslides and flash floods as it advanced slowly over the Tiburon Peninsula in southwest Haiti overnight, before turning toward Jamaica and southeast Cuba on Tuesday.
The earthquake that nearly destroyed some cities in the southwest is the latest disaster for the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Haitians are already facing the coronavirus pandemic, increasing gang violence, increasing poverty and the assassination of their president, Jovenel Moise, on July 7.
“We are in an exceptional situation,” Prime Minister Ariel Henry told reporters on Monday, before the storm hit.
One hospital in Les Caye City, one of the worst hit, was so full of patients after the earthquake that many lay in courtyards, corridors and terraces, but the proximity of the storm prompted authorities to try to move them in the best way possible. May be. May be.
“We planned to pitch tents[on the hospital grounds]but they told us it wasn’t safe,” said Jedi Peterson, director of Les Cayes General Hospital.
This isn’t the first time employees have had to improvise. The cooling system at the center’s morgue had been out of action for three months, and after Saturday’s earthquake, staff had to store up to 20 bodies in the confined space. Relatives of the victims rushed to take most of them to a private embalming ceremony or for immediate burial. Only three bodies were left in the morgue on Monday.
“We are now working to ensure that the resources we have available can get to the hardest-hit places,” said Jerry Chandler, Director of Civil Protection, referring to the southwest counties of Les Caye, Jeremy and Nebe.
Quake victims were still arriving at the crowded Les Cayes General Hospital three days later, waiting for care in the stairs, corridors and on the open balcony.
“After two days, most of them in general were already injured,” said Dr. Baurus Michelet, who treated 250 patients and was one of three doctors who were on duty when the quake struck. The center was running out of painkillers and materials to treat fractures due to the increase in the number of patients.
On the other hand, rescuers and metal collectors were excavating on Monday among the ruins of a collapsed hotel in the coastal city from which 15 bodies have already been removed. Jean-Moise Fortuny, whose brother – a prominent hotelier and politician – died in the landslide, believes that more people are trapped under the rubble.
But given the size of the voids that rescuers carefully examined, probably about a foot (30 cm) deep, it seemed unlikely that any survivors would be found.
With jobs, fuel, and money running out, desperate Les Cayes residents scour the ruins of destroyed homes for minerals to sell. Others expected remittances from abroad, a mainstay of the Haitian economy even before the earthquake.
Associated Press reporters Daniel Trenton of New York and Regina Garcia Cano of Mexico City contributed to this report.
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