Widespread Health Impacts Imminent After Haiti’s 7.2-Magnitude Earthquake

Widespread Health Impacts Imminent After Haiti’s 7.2-Magnitude Earthquake

Photo courtesy of Michael Capponi

Project HOPE is deploying an Emergency Response Team to assess urgent medical needs 

[Washington, D.C.] –  Following the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit southwest Haiti on Saturday morning, Project HOPE is deploying members of its emergency preparedness and response team to assess the impacts on health facilities and identify the most urgent medical needs of affected populations.

The team will partner with local organizations for emergency response. Plus, offer immediate assistance through the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) and health kits. In addition to prepping for logistical and access challenges due to significant damage to roads and buildings.

Impacted Areas

Affected areas of Les Cayes and Jeremie, hit in the past by natural disasters, have already reported major devastation. As a result hospitals are overwhelmed with wounded victims. Footage from local Haitians cites people trapped under the rubble of their houses.

“This earthquake is yet another crisis—among many others—that Haiti is facing. We fear the worst as we think of the 2010 earthquake Haiti suffered,” says Tom Cotter, director of emergency response and preparedness at Project HOPE. “There are a lot of reasons to be concerned right now, especially as most Haitians have yet to be vaccinated and COVID-19 could now spread even faster as people flee and gather on displacement sites. Medical facilities and ambulance services were scarce even before the earthquake, with the majority of Haitians unable to afford medical services. Supporting local health care personnel and emergency first responders will be crucial to save as many lives as possible.”

Any COVID-19 vaccination efforts could be impeded as many areas become inaccessible. Haiti has been among the last countries to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Their first mass vaccination campaign starting only in July for health care workers and individuals over 65.

The earthquake is also going to aggravate the living conditions of millions of Haitians already suffering from poverty. About 60 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day.

Project HOPE Supporting Haiti

Project HOPE has worked to support the people of Haiti since the 1980s. Including programs in maternal, neonatal and child health. In response to the devastating earthquake in 2010, Project HOPE sent medical supplies and highly skilled medical volunteers to serve on the USNS Comfort. The floating Navy hospital ship was the main referral hospital in Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake. Receiving complex cases from field hospitals on shore.

Following Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Project HOPE also sent a disaster relief team to work with the government. Especially to address the crucial health needs of affected people.

 

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