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Posted: Tuesday 17 August, 2021 at 10:00 AM

Haiti’s death toll climbs to over 1,200

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AS the dust settles in Haiti following Saturday’s (Aug. 14) magnitude 7.2 earthquake, a clearer picture of the devastation left in its wake is now being seen.
    Significant damage to homes, buildings and government offices are being reported in the western portion of the French-speaking nation. Officials on the island confirmed a significant increase in the number of deaths, moving the figure to 1,297 as of yesterday (Aug. 16).


    Elizabeth Riley, Head of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CEDMA), told reporters that the area has received a large number of aftershocks with the largest being a 5.8 which occurred around midday Saturday. 


    The problem on the ground in the Caribbean nation is being compounded by the passage of Tropical Storm Grace, which was expected to dump between five-10 inches of rainfall over the island yesterday or today.


    Riley said that there is the possibility for flash flooding and mudslides in some areas. 


    Saturday’s earthquake occurred in the Nippes, Grand'Anse and Sud, which is home to a combined population representing 16 percent of the island-nation’s population, of around 11.4 million.


    The CDEMA boss lamented that there are 2,838 people reported as injured with 14,000 families having been affected by the persistent shaking of the earth. 


    Further, Riley announced that 7,369 houses were destroyed while 4,852 were damaged.


    Haiti, one of the poorest nations in the western hemisphere, is struggling to combat the outbreak of the Coronavirus, and that may compound the problem of assistance.


    Addressing an SKNVibes question surrounding the virus and CDEMA personnel on the ground, Riley explained that Haiti has the lowest vaccination rate among all CARICOM member states and it could impact assistance that would be received from the regional agency.


    She reminded that the agency has a ‘do no harm’ policy when it comes to deployment, “and as such, we are seeking to deploy persons who are fully vaccinated”.


    Riley pointed to instances where personnel were deployed to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Guyana returned without any positive cases. 


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