A state of emergency has been declared in Haiti after a devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the country on Saturday. The earthquake has taken the lives of an estimated 1,300 people and left another 5,700 injured, with numbers expected to rise in the coming days.
The earthquake struck at 8:30 am local time with an epicenter of just over seven miles northeast of Saint-Louis-du-Sud, located in the southwest part of the country. Aftershocks have been felt, with one of the strongest measuring 5.2-magnitude and 5.1 respectively on Saturday afternoon. The earthquake hit just 60-miles west of the disastrous 7.0-magnitude quake that struck in 2010 that killed an estimated 300,000 people.
While the country and its citizens begin the long recovery, a reconnaissance mission put together by the United Nations has stated, “The most urgent humanitarian needs are expected to be linked to the provision of medical assistance and water, sanitation and hygiene.” Haiti, already suffering from a lack of physicians, faces an insurmountable obstacle while attempting to care for the injured. Various news organizations are reporting an unpresented lack of supplies and doctors to care for the injured. And government officials estimate that over 13,000 homes have been destroyed, and another 13,000 have suffered damage due to Saturday’s quake.
As with the 2010 earthquake, people and various organizations are stepping up to help the Haitian people. Social media has been papered with information on what is needed and where to send it. Among the most needed items: non-perishable foods, canned foods, and clothing. Baby supplies are also among the necessary items; diapers, wipes, and formula— as well as personal hygiene items like deodorant, wipes, and hand sanitizers. A few organizations like Catholic Charities and Hope for Haiti are accepting cash donations online or can direct you to your local agencies who can get your donated items to Haiti.
Saturday’s earthquake is the latest hardship that the country has had to endure. Less than six weeks ago, Haitian president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, and his death left behind severe instability and continued violence.
Yet, in the coming days, aid is expected to come from all over the world. Simultaneously, all eyes are on the waters surrounding Haiti. The National Hurricane Center has put the country under a tropical storm watch.