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Haiti: One month after the quake


One month after an earthquake wreaked havoc in southwest Haiti, humanitarian needs remain immense. The disaster caused over 2,000 deaths and left 650,000 people in need of vital support.

An HI partner physical therapist provides rehabilitation care to a patient injured in the earthquake. Haiti, 2021.

An HI partner physical therapist provides rehabilitation care to a patient injured in the earthquake. Haiti, 2021. | © R.CREWS/ HI

Injured people are at risk of long-term complications

Day after day at the rehabilitation centre, patients are multiplying,” says Guetchly-Nise, a physical therapist recruited by HI and its partner FONTEN in Les Cayes.

The sudden collapse of buildings and infrastructure injured over 12,000 people, many of whom will require ongoing rehabilitation services to prevent long-term complications or lifelong disabilities.

With roads blocked and hospitals facing a surge of patients on top of the ongoing global pandemic, many people injured in the quake were unable to access care in a timely manner. This has led to infections and worsening conditions for injuries that were already severe.

Over 1,600 people with disabilities have already been identified in the affected regions, the majority of whom are women (OCHA, 2021)[1]. The disaster puts people with existing disabilities at higher risk, as it has become more difficult to move around or seek necessary care.

Many remain homeless and face acute food insecurity

Tens of thousands are without shelter after over 83,000 homes were damaged and 54,000 were completely destroyed. Schools and hospitals have also been closed due to damage and destruction, while the rising price of basic goods and a recent fuel shortage add to the fragility of the situation. Many people are unable to afford essentials such as medication, diapers or food as they cannot continue their livelihoods or earn any wages.

OCHA recently estimated that around 980,000 people in the Grand-Sud would experience acute levels of food insecurity by February 2022, including 320,000 people in urgent need of nutrition.

HI continues its emergency response

Since the earthquake, HI’s emergency intervention team has been in Haiti, actively responding to the disaster:

  • HI's emergency team conducted assessments in Les Cayes, Jeremie and Nippes to identify primarily health and logistics needs.
  • Along with its partner FONTEN, HI has recruited and trained 7 additional physical therapists in the Cayes to reinforce rehabilitation care in two hospitals and one rehabilitation centre.
  • 515 people have received rehabilitation care, including 240 women, 156 men, 57 girls, 60 boys, and 66 people with disabilities.
  • HI has provided nearly 100 people with mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walkers and crutches.
  • HI has organized and coordinated the shipping of humanitarian goods such as hygiene kits and rehabilitation materials to the affected regions via its maritime transport project

In the next steps of its intervention, HI is planning to distribute 1,500 hygiene kits and clear rubble and debris that are blocking access to those in need. The distribution must be inclusive, accessible and will specifically target people with disabilities or physical vulnerabilities. HI will continue to coordinate shipments of humanitarian goods via our fleet of boats, and provide rehabilitation services to those injured by the earthquake. We will continue to evaluate the needs as the situation evolves.

Date published: 15/09/21


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