On Saturday August 14 at 8:30am local time, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck the southern region of Haiti, specifically the provinces of Grand’Anse, Nippes and Sud. The tremors were felt in other areas of Haiti, too.
The Haitian Civil Protection General Directorate (DGPC) says 137,000 families have been affected in the Grand'Anse, Nippes and Sud departments. According to UN OCHA, about 650,000 people are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance. The death toll is now over 2,200, according to Haiti’s Office for Civil Protection, and more than 12,000 people have been injured (as of August 22).
Many municipalities in the affected areas remain isolated from the rest of the country, and landslides and flooding brought on by recent storms have caused additional damage and complicated search efforts.
Please find below a round-up of our response following the earthquake in the southern peninsula, including mobile clinics, surgical interventions, WATSAN activities, and donations to medical facilities:
- In the hours after the earthquake, the MSF team based in Port-à-Piment and an emergency medical team from Port-au-Prince began assisting injured patients in Sud province.
- The hospital in Port-à-Piment where MSF runs a sexual and reproductive health (SRH) project was damaged. The patients, most of them present for maternity services, were evacuated to a tent structure where our team continues to provide care. In Port-à-Piment, MSF is also stabilizing and facilitating the referral of patients injured by the earthquake, including patients MSF has managed to evacuate from nearby Les Anglais, which is cut off from the rest of the province due to road damage.
- In Les Cayes, the capital of Sud province, MSF has started surgical activities in the Hôpital Général des Cayes. MSF is also running a mobile clinic, distributing essential non-food items and performing water and sanitation activities in three communities serving 1600 displaced households.
- On August 23, MSF began running a mobile clinic to more remote communities, including Maniche, Camp Perrin and Cavaillon, which have less access to aid and health care and were the most affected by the earthquake.
- MSF has provided donations of medical supplies to three health centres, to facilitate the stabilisation and referral of patients: Les Anglais, Chardonnières and Rendel.
- A team arrived August 15 in the department of Nippes. MSF has given donations to a hospital in Miragoâne and an MSF surgeon and nurse are providing medical support. At the second location, the town health centre of Petit Trou, the team saw more visible damages including to the water system. MSF gave donations to the health centre and a water truck has been organised to the city of Petit Trou de Nippes. Assessment teams have started evaluations of 20 health centres damaged in the department of Nippes.
- In Baradères, the town is almost cut from all routes, making it difficult to get aid and supplies in. The hospital in Baradères saw around 60 patients in the first two days of the earthquake. The MSF team donated medical supplies and is trying to find possibilities to access areas cut off from aid due to landslides blocking the roads. Last week, an MSF team returned to set up tents for temporary health care, and to install a water bladder at the Baradères health centre to ensure continued water supply to the centre and the community.
- An MSF team assessed the hospital in L’Asile as well as a hospital in Bonne Fin, both of which were damaged in the earthquake. MSF has donated medical supplies, and at Hopital Communautaire L’Asile, the MSF team set up temporary health care and installed a motor pump and a bladder to provide clean water to L'Asile community and the hospital.
- Some access routes, such as the road between Les Cayes and Jérémie, are seriously damaged, and complicate the deployment of aid. MSF is moving supplies by air due to the difficulties with the road. A medical team, including two surgeons and an operating room nurse are working in St. Antoine’s hospital. As of August 20, the MSF surgical team in Jérémie had treated 54 patients for injuries suffered in the earthquake. Thirty-six of these patients underwent surgery, while others received casts or splints. MSF brought medical supplies, including sterilization material, for the medical facility.
- In Port-au-Prince, the earthquake fortunately did not damage any infrastructure or buildings. However, injured patients from affected areas have come to the city for care.
- MSF is treating injured people in our trauma hospital in Tabarre having broadened criteria for admission and expanded its bed capacity. As of August 23, the hospital staff had treated 60 patients injured in the earthquake.
- On August 15, MSF began providing stabilization care to injured patients at a new emergency centre in the Turgeau neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince. Since opening, we have treated 133 earthquake victims from the southern peninsula and 152 other patients (as of August 22).
- To address potential blood shortages, MSF quickly launched a blood collection campaign in Turgeau on August 14 just hours after the earthquake, in partnership with local authorities.
MSF has over 100 international staff members and over 1260 Haitian staff members working in Haiti on our regular programmes and emergency response.