On Saturday, August 14, around 8:30 am, an earthquake measured at 7.2 magnitude struck the southern areas of Les Cayes, Jeremie, Saint Louis de Sud, Aquin, Petit Trou de Nippes, Anse-a-Veau, and Cavaillon, followed by several aftershocks. Vibrations could be felt as far as Jamaica, about 200 miles away.
Local news outlets reported earlier that the sea in Jeremie receded, which might have been a sign of a tsunami, but warnings were rescinded later.
Local authorities have declared a state of emergency for one month, seeking the assistance of humanitarian aid. Hospitals in Haiti nearest the affected regions are reportedly over capacity. The death toll has risen to more than 300*, with more than 1,800* people injured (*numbers are subject to change), according to local reports.
Residents of the affected towns have been trying to locate family and friends missing or feared dead. Ongoing search parties have been formed to search for people hidden under rubbles.
“The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) was one of the first aid relief organizations to reach the affected area of Saint-Louis de Sud in Haiti. From our assessments, the main concern is to care for the injured. At this moment, evaluations of the damages are being carried out. One of the main challenges is the extreme complexity of ‘gang’ blocks that do not allow easy access to affected areas. We are also concerned about the pending storm Grace and the already delicate situation in Haiti due to violence and the massive displacement of populations. The situation is extremely complex,” says Elian Giaccarini, ADRA’s emergency management coordinator for the Caribbean.
ADRA has been operating in Haiti for over 30 years providing support for nutrition, agriculture, water and primary education programs in the north and north-east central parts of Haiti, targeting a population of 1 million people.
This is the second time a major earthquake struck Haiti in a decade. In 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake killed nearly 250,000 people.
To show your support, visit ADRA.org or call 1-800-424-ADRA (2372).
More information will be provided as this story develops.