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Crisis Alert: Americares Responds to Hurricane Ida

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Haiti Earthquake 2021

Active Emergency
August 14, 2021
Haiti Photo/Orlando Barria
An Americares medical team member checks a patient after Haiti earthquake

Deadly Earthquake

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck western Haiti, the department of Nippes – approximately 100 km west of Port-au-Prince, at 8:29 a.m. on August 14. Multiple aftershocks followed. The strength of this quake exceeded the one that destroyed much of Port-au-Prince in 2010. Nearly 2,200 deaths have been reported with thousands more injured, missing or buried in the rubble. Thousands of buildings have been destroyed and hospitals are overwhelmed with a total of 36 health facilities damaged, 4 completely destroyed and 12 suffering severe damage. Overall, some 2.2 million people have been affected by the earthquake. At least two urban centers suffered devastating destruction – Les Cayes and Jeremie – with communications, roads and other infrastructure shut down, delaying more details of damage assessment. Some rural communities still remain cut off from communications and aid.

The torrential rains from Tropical Depression Grace along with the unstable security situation and political upheaval complicate the response to the latest tragedy to strike a beleaguered nation that has survived previous earthquakes, a cholera epidemic and major hurricanes just in the past decade. A state of emergency has been declared, and the U.S., international agencies along with several Latin American and Caribbean countries are already pledging and delivering aid.

Americares relief workers on the ground are assisting in the response and more staff deployments are planned. Shipments of critical supplies are underway as we work with local partners to assess needs and provide support for a heavily impacted health system. Americares continues to operate five medical teams that are working to reinforce the Haitian health system. The teams of doctors and nurses are working at health centers to keep up with patient demand and providing mobile services in affected communities to expand access to health services. To date, Americares has provided more than 3,800 consultations. Americares teams are seeing and treating earthquake-related wounds that have become infected, as well as skin infections, respiratory infections and minor exacerbations of chronic conditions. The teams are made up of Haitian national members of our Global Roster of over 600 health and response professionals.Click the arrow and watch the latest update from our ER team.

Photo/Jemps Civil – A member of an Americares mobile medical team checking a patient after the Haiti earthquake.

Updated 9.13.21

“The reason why I am here is because the earthquake destroyed my house. I don’t have anywhere to go. All those kids are my grandchildren. We didn’t even get a tarpaulin. It was raining and the children got soaked. Some of them have already been sick with fever and everything.”

Yves, a resident of the Haiti earthquake area

Dr. Gabriel Robenson, at a hospital in the earthquake area

“Unlike the first days, where we found many cases of fractures and hemorrhages, currently the majority of patients who are admitted to the hospital are patients who come with infected wounds. We need a lot of materials to make bandages and materials for the operating room. And then there are a lot of cases starting to come up that are orthopedic cases, [so] we need a lot of orthopedic materials to operate on these people.”

Dr. Gabriel

Dr. Gabriel

First Response to Catastrophe

Nearly $3 million worth of critically needed medicines and relief items are on the way to Haiti for survivors as part of the initial support for a badly damaged and overwhelmed health system. The first shipment carrying 9 tons of intravenous fluids is on the way to earthquake-damaged Les Cayes. The second shipment quickly following the first includes 9 tons of medicine, medical supplies, surgical and wound care products, PPE and hygiene products. Americares relief workers in Haiti and the United States are preparing additional shipments to supply health workers treating the injured with antibiotics, orthopedic supplies and other urgently needed items. Read the latest on the Haiti Airlift

Unloading medical supplies including crutches for earthquake survivors
Americares staff unload a shipment of medicine and medical supplies for earthquake survivors, August 28, 2021. (Photo/Jemps Civil)

On the day after the quake, Americares relief workers in Haiti rushed to deliver first aid supplies to a rural health center in the affected area ahead of Tropical Depression Grace’s landfall. The emergency team is also deploying additional staff to support the relief efforts.

Americares staff member delivering medicines
Americares relief workers deliver first aid supplies to a rural health center affected by the recent earthquake in southwestern Haiti, August 15, 2021. (Photo/Americares)
“Roads are damaged, or impassable, and health workers urgently need medicine, PPE and equipment such as portable X-ray machines. About 80 percent of the health facilities Americares supports in Haiti are in the impact zone. We are working to get them the supplies they desperately need.”

Americares Vice President of Emergency Programs Kate Dischino

Manita, a Haiti earthquake survivor.

“My house is destroyed. It is raining, I am getting soaked along with my child. I have nowhere to go. Today is Thursday — if it wasn’t for the earthquake, I would be going to the market to make 50 gourdes to feed my child. Today, the earthquake puts me here. I have absolutely nothing. If I had money today, I could cook something for my child.”


Woman stands in the earthquake wreckage

History in Haiti

Americares has worked in Haiti since the 1980s, supporting health centers and local organizations with donated medicine and medical supplies both in response to emergencies and ongoing needs. Over the years Americares has responded to the 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake, a cholera outbreak, Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic in Haiti.

At the time of earthquake, Americares was providing regular support to 29 health facilities in Haiti, including being the only health-focused organization to support the sole health facility for 50,000 people in one earthquake-affected arrondissement. There, Americares has provided a solar power system, refurbished the ambulance, made infrastructure repairs and provided training for staff, as well as public handwashing stations and community promotion of hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic. In all, Americares has provided more than $385 million in aid to Haiti since 1984.

Photo/NadiaTodres – A woman looks on the ruins of buildings after the earthquake.