Send Relief is responding to and continuing to assess needs for the major, 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Saturday, Aug. 14. The earthquake caused severe damage to infrastructure, including hospitals, bridges, and roads. Search and rescue activities continue in the affected area. Tropical Storm Grace will cause increased difficulties in assessment and response. (Editor’s note — after the publication of this alert, Tropical Storm Grace hit Haiti on Monday, Aug. 16, with gusting winds and heavy rain, causing increased difficulties in assessment and response.)
Our initial assessments indicate more than 700 collapsed buildings, including hospitals, schools, and churches, and over 7,000 destroyed homes with damage to more than 5,000. The quake has forced at least 470 people to seek refuge in shelters, with thousands displaced. It has also resulted in over 1,297 deaths and injuries to around 5,700 people, figures likely to increase significantly in the coming days as more are still missing. Despite its strength and depth, the quake is less catastrophic than the one that occurred in 2010, the worst disaster in the country’s history, which left more than 300,000 people dead and 1.5 million others injured. The greatest needs identified in early assessments are medical assistance, water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Partners in Haiti indicate that the instability and spike in violence and gang activity have created a security status at present that prohibits the utilization of volunteers in the response. The prognosis is that crime and gang activity may worsen because of the quake for an unforeseen time.
Chronic poverty issues, COVID-19, political instability, and the threat of violence are all complicating the response in Haiti.
SEND Relief is partnering with the Florida Baptist Convention (FBC) and Haitian Baptists, who are partners on the ground in response. FBC has a long-term relationship with Haiti, and we believe they are currently our best partner for SEND Relief in Haiti.
The best way for churches and others to help Haiti now is through prayer and giving.
You can send relief by giving online at bcmd.org/give or making a donation below.
Coy Webb serves as SEND Relief’s crisis response director.
Photo courtesy of Salvation Army on Flikr