Haitians Face Quake's Devastation

Death toll tops 700, with nearly 3K reported injured
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 15, 2021 1:40 PM CDT
Haitians Face Quake's Devastation
A firefighter searches for survivors in what's left of a building Sunday in Les Cayes, Haiti.   (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)

Haitians awoke Sunday to the devastation caused by an earthquake the day before. Many are searching for family members in the rubble or are already in mourning. "I have eight kids, and I was looking for the last one," said a man in whose 7-year-old daughter's body was found at the site of a collapsed hotel in Les Cayes. "I will never see her again alive." The government said Sunday that at least 724 people were killed and 2,800 injured, per the AP. Thousands of people were displaced when their homes were damaged or destroyed. In some places, survivors sheltered in the streets or on soccer fields, toting the few belongings they were able to salvage. Aftershocks were still being felt Sunday. People in Les Cayes lined up to buy food at a street market. Les Cayes and Jeremie are the cities hit hardest by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

Hospitals were overwhelmed with the wounded, and a former lawmaker rented a plane to move injured people from Les Cayes to Port-au-Prince for treatment. "The most important thing is to recover as many survivors as possible under the rubble," Prime Minister Ariel Henry said. The US, Argentina, and Chile quickly promised to help, with President Biden putting Samantha Power in charge of the US effort. The US Coast Guard is ferrying rescuers and patients in a helicopter. At the same time, Haiti is preparing for a tropical storm bearing down on the island, and the heavy rain, flooding, and mudslides it could bring. One forecast calls for 5 to 10 inches of rain for Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which occupies the other side of the island. (More Haiti stories.)

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