Death Toll From Haiti Earthquake Soars to 1,297 as Tropical Depression Grace Approaches

Isabel van Brugen
By Isabel van Brugen
August 15, 2021World News
Death Toll From Haiti Earthquake Soars to 1,297 as Tropical Depression Grace Approaches
Locals begin to wake up after spending the night outside after Saturday's 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, on Aug. 15, 2021. (Joseph Odelyn/AP Photo)

The death toll from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Haiti soared to at least 1,297 on Sunday as rescuers raced to find survivors amid the rubble ahead of a potential deluge from an approaching tropical storm.

The latest death toll count from Haiti’s office of civil protection follows a previous figure of 724 dead following Saturday’s powerful quake, which destroyed thousands of homes and buildings, injured at least 5,700 people, and displaced thousands more. Hospitals, schools, offices, and churches were also destroyed in the quake.

The death toll is expected to rise.

Haiti Earthquake
Firefighters search for survivors inside a collapsed building, after Saturday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, on Aug. 15, 2021. (Joseph Odelyn/AP Photo)

The race to find survivors comes as Tropical Depression Grace is expected to reach the Caribbean nation on Monday night. The U.S. National Hurricane Center demoted the tropical storm to a depression on Sunday, but forecasters warned that regardless, Grace still poses risks of heavy rain, flooding, and landslides to the island.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck about 5 miles from the town of Petit Trou de Nippes, which is 93 miles west of the capital Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 6 miles, at 8:29 a.m. on Saturday.

A regional tsunami wave warning was issued, according to the U.S. Tsunami Warning System, and aftershocks continued to jolt the area on Sunday.

Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry declared a country-wide one-month state of emergency and called on coordinated efforts to provide aid to areas where towns were destroyed and hospitals overwhelmed.

“We must work together to provide rapid and effective responses to this extremely serious situation,” said Henry, who had flown to the badly damaged coastal town of Les Cayes.

The country’s public works ministry dispatched 55 rescue teams, made up of military and civil protection personnel, for search-and-rescue efforts.

Haiti Earthquake
An aerial view of the Hotel Le Manguier destroyed by an earthquake, in Les Cayes, Haiti, on Aug. 14, 2021. (Ralph Tedy Erol/AP Photo)

U.S. President Joe Biden has authorized an immediate response and named USAID Administrator Samantha Power to oversee the U.S effort to help Haiti.

A 65-member team from Fairfax County, Virginia, was prepared for deployment by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Sunday to help with search-and-rescue operations.

Meanwhile, Bocchit Edmond, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, said he had requested a team from Miami-Dade County in Florida to assist in search-and-rescue efforts.

“We want [U.S. first responders] to help,” Edmond said. “We have news that in some parts of the country, there are probably people under rubble, and we want to give them a chance.”

Hospitals are overwhelmed as Haiti has been struggling with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic and lacking the resources to deal with it. The country of 11 million people received its first batch of U.S.-donated COVID-19 vaccines only last month via a United Nations program for low-income countries.

The powerful quake also struck just over a month after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, which sparked political turmoil in the country.

His widow, Martine Moïse, who was seriously wounded in the attack, posted a message on Twitter on Sunday calling for unity among Haitians: “Let’s put our shoulders together to bring solidarity.”

“Courage. I am always by your side,” she wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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