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Disaster Prep and First Response

Haiti Earthquake Causes a State of Emergency


Haiti, a country that has endured a long history of natural disasters, experienced a devastating earthquake this past Saturday morning, August 14th. The earthquake reached a magnitude of 7.2, and Haiti was one of many countries affected–others included the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico–leading the government to declare a state of emergency. 

Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency continues to report on the effects of the earthquake, with at least 1297 people dead and over 5,700 injured. The quake has also destroyed 13,694 homes and left 13,785 severely damaged, blocking off major roads needed to transport medical supplies for the injured. 

Haiti is still recovering from the fallout caused by the 2010 earthquake, one of the deadliest recorded in history. Although the quake on Saturday has not caused as much devastation–the 2010 earthquake resulted in death tolls of over 300,000 people–the prevention of medical assistance caused by the debris is raising concern among government officials. 

The country is now under a tropical storm watch for the next 48 hours as Tropical Storm Grace is also projected to pass over Haiti. This could lead to mudslides and flooding, adding to the devastation already caused by the earthquake. As Haiti faces crisis upon crisis, other countries offer their aid and resources. 

How to help

The US Coast Guard will be helping to transport medical personnel and supplies, and bring those who are injured to a higher care facility. Chile will be sending humanitarian aid, and Columbia’s Air Force will be enacting a search and rescue for victims of the earthquake. While these countries, and more, offer their services, we too can play our part in helping those in crisis. Below are a few organizations raising funds to provide emergency assistance to the Haitian community; click their links to learn more or to donate:

  • Bstrong is an organization founded by Bethenny Frankel that is in partnership with the Global Empowerment Mission to provide emergency assistance to people in crisis. GEM Bstrong is on the ground working in first response for those impacted by the Haiti earthquake.
  • The Global Empowerment Mission is a nonprofit organization whose “aim is to provide grassroots efforts with a large institutional impact for the most vulnerable populations affected by natural disasters around the world.” Phase one of their process is titled Disaster Relief, where GEM works in coordination with partner churches and local organizations to aid the Haiti earthquake crisis by shipping 20 containers of “Family Necessities Kits, food, beverages, hygiene, PPE and medical supplies.” They are also working on the ground to start smaller, more immediate, distributions.
  • “As one of the most trusted organizations working to reduce poverty in Haiti, Hope for Haiti is focused on providing support and partnership for the Haitian people every single day.” In response to the recent earthquake, Hope for Haiti is distributing emergency kits to vulnerable individuals and families. The team also consists of doctors and nurses who live and work in Haitian communities.
  • Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Fronteirs is “an independent, global movement providing medical aid where it’s needed most.” A team based in Port-à-Piment and an emergency medical team from Port-au-Prince began assisting injured patients in Sud province following the Haiti earthquake. They are  also stabilizing patients inPort-à-Piment who were injured by the quake. “MSF plans to reinforce its activities in the coming days, sending more medical teams, including surgeons. MSF is preparing to send medical and emergency supplies from abroad, including two cargo planes from Brussels.”
  • Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization that works to improve the health and lives of those who have been affected by emergencies or poverty. In Haiti, with money made from donations, Direct Relief is able to “build and equip new surgical facilities, ensure rehabilitation services are available to people around the clock, and give hospitals and clinics across the country access to medicine and medical supplies that can be ordered online at any time for no cost.”
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