Haiti quake death toll surges to nearly 2,000, survivors clamor for aid

Death toll from Haiti’s weekend earthquake rises to nearly 2,000

Haiti quake death toll rises to 2,000.

More than 9,900 injured are still being treated in hospitals, according to the news agency.

Rescue operations are underway in the affected areas and hopes of rescuing people trapped under the rubble are slowly fading.

The magnitude 7.2 earthquake completely destroyed more than 60,000 buildings and damaged more than 76,000.

Haitian officials raised the death toll from a deadly weekend earthquake by more than 500 on Tuesday after Tropical Storm Grace forced a temporary halt to search and rescue efforts, a delay that fed growing anger and frustration among thousands who were left homeless.

Grace battered southwestern Haiti, which was hit hardest by Saturday’s quake, and officials warned some areas could get 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain before the storm moved on. Intermittent rain fell in the earthquake-damaged city of Les Cayes and in the capital of Port-au-Prince.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Civil Protection Agency raised the death toll to 1,941 and the number of injured to 9,900, many of whom have had to wait for medical help lying outside in wilting heat.

The devastation is centered in the country’s southwestern area, where health care has reached capacity and people have lost homes and loved ones.

Patience was running out in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation. Haitians already were struggling with the coronavirus, gang violence, worsening poverty and the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse when the quake hit.

Bodies continued to be pulled from the rubble, and the smell of death hung heavily over a pancaked, three-story apartment building. A simple bed sheet covered the body of a 3-year-old girl that firefighters had found an hour earlier.

Officials said the magnitude 7.2 earthquake destroyed more than 7,000 homes and damaged nearly 5,000, leaving about 30,000 families homeless. Hospitals, schools, offices and churches also were demolished or badly damaged.

In the village of Bonne Fin, a one-hour drive from from Les Cayes on dirt roads, the mountaintop Hospital Lumiere illustrated the anguish and complexity of Haiti’s medical crisis and dire need for outside help.

No one died or was injured at the hospital when the quake hit, but the operating rooms partially collapsed.

Through cracks in a wall, Dr. Frantz Codio could see three glistening anesthesia machines he needed to perform orthopedic operations on broken bones. But he could not get to them because the building’s cement floor was leaning at a crazy angle — in some places just 3 or 4 feet (0.9 meters to 1.2 meters) above where it used to be.

Despite warnings not to go inside the structure, Codio did so on Sunday and pulled one of the machines out.

“People said, ‘Don’t go in there, it’s too dangerous,’ but I had God with me,” Codio said.

Etzer Emile, a Haitian economist and professor at Quisqueya University, a private institution in Port-au-Prince, said the earthquake will almost certainly result in more long-term poverty for Haiti’s struggling southwestern region.

Political instability and gang criminality along the southern roads into the region have particularly hobbled economic activity in recent years.

“The earthquake has just given a fatal blow to a regional economy already on its knees for about 2 1/2 years” Emile said.


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