Over 11 years since a magnitude 7.0 earthquake decimated Port-Au-Prince, another 7.2 magnitude earthquake has hit just 72 miles south of the country's capital. At a time when Haiti is facing crises at all fronts - a wave of COVID-19 with lack of access to vaccines, political turmoil, heightened food insecurity, and hurricane season just beginning - this could not come at a worse time. PIH has been a trusted figure in the community from 1986 through today and moving forward.
A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Haiti on Saturday August 14, with the epicenter located 78 miles west of Port-au-Prince. Most of the damage and loss of life (which the United States Geologic Survey predicts will be in the tens of thousands) is in the south where devastating effects will be exacerbated by the current political climate, food insecurity, hurricane season's beginning, and the current wave of COVID-19.
Partners In Health teams in Mirebalais, Saint-Marc, and Hinche-roughly 150 miles and eight hours east of there-are enacting emergency protocols-not unlike they did in 2010 but with significant improvements in expertise, supplies, and health infrastructure.
Haiti had not recovered from the last major earthquake which we still see the effects of today. The threat of gang violence and the hazards of traversing compromised bridges, the challenges of getting the right supplies to the right people (do we and partners need more orthopedic supplies or x-ray machines,) the changing weather (will Tropical Depression Grace's 30 mph winds destroy tented surgery facilities,) are challenges we need to overcome to prevent a worsened long-term impact.