Haiti Earthquake Death Toll Soars

It hit 1,297 on Sunday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 16, 2021 12:00 AM CDT
Updated Aug 16, 2021 6:49 AM CDT
Haiti Earthquake Death Toll Soars
A couple sleeps after spending the night at a soccer field following Saturday?s 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021.   (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)

The death toll from a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Haiti climbed to 1,297 on Sunday, a day after the powerful temblor turned thousands of structures into rubble and set off frantic rescue efforts ahead of a potential deluge from an approaching storm. Saturday's earthquake also left at least 5,700 people injured in the Caribbean nation, with thousands more displaced from their destroyed or damaged homes, the AP reports. Survivors in some areas were forced to wait out in the open amid oppressive heat for help from overloaded hospitals. The devastation could soon worsen with the coming of Tropical Depression Grace, which is predicted to reach Haiti on Monday night. The US National Hurricane Center warned that although Grace had weakened from tropical storm strength Sunday, it still posed a threat to bring heavy rain, flooding, and landslides.

The earthquake struck the southwestern part of the hemisphere’s poorest nation, almost razing some towns and triggering landslides that hampered rescue efforts in a country already struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, a presidential assassination, and a wave of gang violence. The epicenter was about 78 miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, the US Geological Survey said, and aftershocks continued to jolt the area Sunday. In scenes widespread across the region hit by the quake, families salvaged their few belongings and spent the night at an open-air football pitch. On Sunday, people lined up to buy what little was available: bananas, avocados, and water at a local street market. Prime Minister Ariel Henry has declared a one-month state of emergency for the whole country. UNICEF said Sunday that humanitarian needs are acute, with many Haitians urgently needing health care, clean water, and shelter; children who have been separated from parents need protection.

(More Haiti stories.)

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