Haiti is reeling from a magnitude 7.2 quake that killed over two thousand people and left over ten thousand homes destroyed. The quake hit on the 14th of August 2021 sending shockwaves across the country and bringing back memories of a devastating quake back in 2010 that killed over two hundred thousand people. This month’s quake was followed by numerous aftershocks and smaller quakes ranging in magnitudes from 4 to 5. The quake piles on to the crises facing the Haitian people after the country’s president, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated last month. The epicenter of the 7.2 magnitude quakes was Saint-Louis-du-Sud in the southwest of the country.
A Shocking Reincarnation of Past Trauma
The quake dealt a major blow to Haiti and brought back devastating memories of the humongous quake that hit the country back in 2010. People went out to the streets immediately after they felt the quake and were afraid to go back into their houses that night. As a result, many Haitians either lost their homes or have been too afraid to go back inside. Those who lost their homes are only now being reached by aid and have been sleeping outside in makeshift structures. To make the situation worse, the country was pounded by tropical storm Grace which led to flooding in some parts of the country, further complicating rescue efforts.
A Country in Tatters After PM's Assassination
After Jovenel Moise was assassinated, the country has been in mourning. The former president was assassinated by a cabal of Colombian former soldiers and a few Haitian Americans. The force said that it did not intend to kill the president and that his assassination was a mistake. However, despite investigations not yet being completed on the matter, preliminary investigations indicate that some of the men had conflicting instructions. The assassination was a massive breach of security and it is said that the men who assassinated the president had been allowed into his compound after alleging to be Drug Enforcement Agency or DEA officers.
Haiti in Dire Need of Relief
Haiti is in dire need of aid. Luckily the country saw a peaceful handover of power as the late president had appointed a new prime minister, Ariel Henry, who was just about to be sworn in when the president was assassinated. The prime minister at the time handed power peacefully to Henry, respecting the assassinated president’s wishes. Ariel Henry has been visiting affected areas and has promised to deliver aid and assistance where needed as soon as possible. In the worst affected regions, however, roads have been deemed impassable due to criminal gangs controlling those areas and further complicating the accessibility of the regions.
A Lack of Capacity to Deal with Natural Disasters in Haiti
Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the world and is a stark contrast to its immediate neighbor, the Dominican Republic, with which it shares an inland. The country lacks the capacity to deal with a major natural disaster and has since enlisted help from the U.S. Coast Guard to aid in relief efforts. The southwest of the country is currently only accessible by plane and the little aid that is getting there is being fought over by the people. The situation is yet another blow to the country. Haiti is traumatized, shaken to its core, and in dire need of assistance and good governance.