On August 14, a powerful earthquake brought destruction and devastation to the people of Haiti. Relying on past experiences in emergency earthquake response, Humanity & Inclusion prepares to intervene.
A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the coast of Haiti early Saturday morning, resulting in severe damage, injury and deaths. Initial reports by the National Emergency Operations Center say the disaster has resulted in at least 700 deaths and 1,800 people with injuries.
With an epicenter about 8 miles from Petit Trou de Nippes, the most affected areas are the South, Nippes and Grande Anse regions of Haiti, where hundreds of homes, schools and hospitals have been damaged or destroyed. Beyond the risks caused by the tremor, Haiti remains under alert for Tropical Storm Grace, rising sea levels and tsunami in the coming days.
With reports of nearly 2,000 people injured already, the most pressing needs are for medical attention and care for the wounded. Hospitals are overwhelmed by the heightened demand, piling atop the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and damages sustained to their buildings. Several have called for emergency reinforcement.
In any natural disaster, people with disabilities, women, children and aging people are the most likely to be negatively affected. During the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the country in 2010, Humanity & Inclusion teams saw the devastating effect on these populations. Between 2,000 and 4,000 people had limbs amputated from injuries caused by the 2010 earthquake. More than 90,000 people received rehabilitation care to prevent the onset of permanent injuries. Humanity & Inclusion teams say this situation could be similar.
“From our previous experience, we’re expecting an enormous need for rehabilitation,” says Anissa Bouachria, Humanity & Inclusion’s Emergency Pool Manager. “There are thousands injured, and many of those injuries may worsen or turn into permanent disabilities. Beyond this, people have experienced significant trauma and will need psychosocial support in addition to basic needs like food, water, shelter and items for personal hygiene.”
Humanity & Inclusion, already present in Haiti, is assessing the evolving situation and preparing plans for intervention. At this time, teams are working closely with local authorities to identify the most pressing needs and possibilities. Additional Humanity & Inclusion emergency teams have been activated, and will be sent for reinforcement as soon as possible.
Among the greatest needs for the population, the following have been identified as potential areas of Humanity & Inclusion intervention given the organization’s expertise:
- Rehabilitation services and distribution of mobility aids
- Psychosocial and mental health support
- Logistics support
- Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
- Basic needs (food access, shelter, cash transfers)
Humanity & Inclusion in Haiti
Humanity & Inclusion has been active in Haiti since 2008 and has developed a close relationship to the community. The organization has been an active part of disaster relief interventions related to the 2010 earthquake and 2016 Hurricane Matthew, while ensuring an inclusive humanitarian response in these efforts. Among other activities of inclusive livelihood and rehabilitation, Humanity & Inclusion also set up the first DVFP (disability and vulnerability focal points) and partnered with the Office of the Secretary of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities. Today, Humanity & Inclusion remains committed to serving the people of Haiti during this time of great need.