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New tremors hit Haiti as death toll rises from last week’s earthquake

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Church St. Anne is seen completely destroyed by the earthquake in Chardonnieres, Haiti, on August 18, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

New tremors have hit the southern Haitian city of Les Cayes, a few days after a devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake killed almost 2,200 people across southwestern Haiti and injured thousands more.

A police officer on patrol in Les Cayes said there had been no immediate reports of further deaths or damage from the new late-Wednesday tremors that hit the region, which is still reeling from the strong earthquake that hit on Saturday morning.

The death toll from the earlier earthquake in Haiti has risen to at least 2,189, and nearly 10,000 people have been injured as doctors in the country face a shortage of medicine and facilities to treat the injured. Concerns about the collapse of hospital buildings have also increased due to damage from the earthquake.

Search and rescue efforts are being hampered by a lack of resources and by heavy rains, which have caused mudslides that blocked roads in the region. In some hard-to-reach areas, airlifts were delayed by Tropical Storm Grace, which passed over Haiti, flooded hundreds of homes, killed four people, and left several more missing on Monday.

‘Haiti on its knees’

“Haiti is now on its knees,” Prime Minister Ariel Henry said. “The earthquake that devastated a large part of the south of the country proves once again our limits, and how fragile we are.”

The quake has destroyed tanks of drinking water, and people living in the tent city in Les Cayes lack even the most basic provisions, such as food, clean drinking water, and shelter from the rain.

“There are around 600,000 people who were directly affected and who need immediate humanitarian assistance,” said Jerry Chandler, head of Haiti’s civil protection agency, speaking from the emergency operations center in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

In a rare piece of good news, 34 people were rescued in the last two days, Chandler said. But hopes are fading for others still trapped.

The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti is still recovering from a 2010 quake that killed over 200,000. Even before the recent earthquake, Haiti was wracked by a mounting COVID-19 crisis and political turmoil that peaked last month with the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7.

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