The majority of the deaths have occurred in the south of the country, where 500 people have died. The earthquake destroyed 2,868 homes and damaged 5,410 others, agency officials said. The destruction also pushed hospitals to the brink and blocked roads that would carry vital supplies.
“Regarding medical needs, this is our greatest urgency. We have started to send drugs and medical personnel to the establishments concerned,” Prime Minister Ariel Henry said. “For people who need urgent special care, we have evacuated a number, and we will evacuate more today and tomorrow.”
The state of emergency is in force for the West department, the South department, Nippes and Grand’Anse.
“The most urgent humanitarian needs should be related to the provision of medical assistance and water, sanitation and hygiene,” the organization said.
Additionally, Haiti is likely to experience high winds and heavy rains from Tropical Storm Grace from Monday to Tuesday, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. This rain could lead to flooding and mudslides, further complicating recovery efforts.
The videos offer a glimpse of the destruction
Videos posted on social media provide insight into the widespread destruction after the earthquake. One of Les Cayes shows a street strewn with rubble and what remains of several buildings. Dust fills the air.
A man in the video said he was lucky the building he was in did not collapse, but many other homes in the area did.
“There are a lot of injured in the streets,” he said.
A hospital in the southern city of Jeremiah said it was overwhelmed with patients and had set up tents in its yard.
“There are a lot of people coming – a lot of people,” an administrator at Saint Antoine Hospital told CNN. “We don’t have enough supplies.”
Merone, spokesperson for World Vision Haiti, said he was in Port-au-Prince, about 100 miles from Saint-Louis-du-Sud, during the earthquake. He said the shaking lasted “over five to ten seconds” and both sides of his house were shaking.
A 5.2 magnitude aftershock struck later Saturday morning about 12 miles west-northwest of Cavaillon, Haiti, according to the USGS. This was followed by several more, including a 5.1 magnitude aftershock around noon.
A tsunami threat that had been issued for the region has passed, according to the US tsunami warning system.
Since June, armed gang violence has cut off areas affected by the earthquake, making its consequences a logistical challenge, Jacqueline Charles, Caribbean correspondent for the Miami Herald, told CNN.
“It’s a country that doesn’t have access to helicopters other than the United Nations. So logistically that’s a huge challenge,” Charles told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield.
Prime Minister urged Haitians to unite
Henry, the Haitian Prime Minister, arrived in Grand’Anse on Saturday evening to assess the extent of the damage and better coordinate the government’s response, he said in a message on Twitter.
“Resources have been mobilized since this morning to provide aid and assistance to the victims of this devastating earthquake,” he added.
Henry urged Haitians to come together in solidarity.
“I offer my sympathies to the relatives of the victims of this violent earthquake which caused several losses of human life and property in several geographic departments of the country,” Henry tweeted.
“I appeal to the spirit of solidarity and commitment of all Haitians, in order to form a common front to face this dramatic situation that we are currently living”, we can read on another tweet.
Martine Moise, Haiti’s former first lady, said her heart “ached” after hearing news of the earthquake.
“The first information I received from Grand’Anse is heartbreaking,” she said. “It hurts my heart for children, mothers, the elderly, the disabled, my friends and all the victims of this earthquake.”
“My brothers and sisters, we must join together to come together to demonstrate our solidarity. It is our unity that makes our strength and our resilience. Courage, I will always be by your side,” added Moise.
United States and other countries offer help
In a statement released on Saturday, US President Joe Biden said he was “saddened by the devastating earthquake that occurred in Saint-Louis du Sud, Haiti, this morning.”
“We extend our deepest condolences to all those who have lost a loved one or seen their homes and businesses destroyed,” the statement said. “I authorized an immediate US response and appointed USAID Administrator Samantha Power as a senior US official to coordinate this effort.”
The Red Cross emergency response system has been activated and the organization “identifies urgent needs on the ground,” said American Red Cross spokeswoman Katie Wilkes.
Médecins Sans Frontières / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is preparing to receive patients at Tabarre hospital in Port-au-Prince, said Tim Shenk, MSF communications advisor.
Several Latin American countries have said they are also preparing to support Haiti.
Chilean President Sebastian Piñera said on Twitter on Saturday that his government had contacted Haitian authorities and was preparing to send humanitarian aid. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also said on Twitter that he had ordered the National Coordination of Civil Protection and other ministries such as Foreign Affairs, Navy and Defense to prepare aid “immediately”.
Panama’s Foreign Ministry has announced that it is preparing to send humanitarian aid soon and to the Dominican Republic, President Luis Abinader said he had given instructions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs to call the Haitian counterpart to “Facilitate any assistance to the extent of our possibilities”.
Colombian President Ivan Duque said the Air Force will be deployed to Haiti on Sunday with a search and rescue team.
Other countries including Argentina, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela have also expressed support for Haiti.
CNN’s Susanna Capelouto, Caitlin Hu, Elizabeth Joseph, Eric Levenson, Brandon Miller, Florencia Trucco, Michelle Velez, Lionel Vital and Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.
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