Death Toll From Haiti Earthquake Rises to More Than 700

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The decease toll from a almighty magnitude 7.2 earthquake successful Haiti climbed sharply connected Sunday, with astatine slightest 724 dormant and a minimum of 2,800 injured.

The updated figures from Haiti’s Office of Civil Protection travel a erstwhile number of 304 dead. The office's director, Jerry Chandler, said rescuers are continuing to hunt for imaginable survivors nether the rubble.

People successful the Caribbean land federation rushed into the streets to question information and to assistance help rescue those trapped successful the rubble of collapsed homes, hotels and different structures.

Saturday’s earthquake struck the southwestern portion of the hemisphere’s poorest nation, astir razing immoderate towns and triggering landslides that hampered rescue efforts successful 2 of the hardest-hit communities. The catastrophe added to the plight of Haitians who were already grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, a statesmanlike assassination and a question of pack violence.

The epicenter of the quake was astir 125 kilometers (78 miles) westbound of the superior of Port-au-Prince, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The wide harm could worsen by aboriginal adjacent week, with Tropical Storm Grace predicted to scope Haiti precocious Monday oregon aboriginal Tuesday, bringing torrential rains.

Aftershocks were felt passim the time and done the night, erstwhile galore radical present stateless oregon frightened by the anticipation of their fractured homes collapsing connected them stayed successful the streets to slumber — if their nerves allowed.

In the severely damaged coastal municipality of Les Cayes, immoderate families salvaged their fewer belongings and spent the nighttime astatine an open-air shot pitch. On Sunday morning, radical lined up to bargain what small was available: bananas, avocados and h2o astatine a section thoroughfare market.

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Some successful the municipality praised God for surviving the earthquake, and galore went to the city's cathedral, which appeared outwardly undamaged adjacent if the priests' residence was destroyed.

“We lone person Jesus now," said Johanne Dorcely, 58, whose location was destroyed. “If it wasn’t for Jesus, I wouldn’t beryllium capable to beryllium present today."

Prime Minister Ariel Henry said helium was rushing assistance to areas wherever towns were destroyed and hospitals overwhelmed with patients. A erstwhile legislator rented a backstage airplane to determination injured radical from Les Cayes to Port-au-Prince for aesculapian assistance.

Henry declared a one-month authorities of exigency for the full state and said helium would not inquire for planetary assistance until the grade of harm was known.

“The astir important happening is to retrieve arsenic galore survivors arsenic imaginable nether the rubble,” said Henry. “We person learned that the section hospitals, successful peculiar that of Les Cayes, are overwhelmed with wounded, fractured people.”

Rescue workers and bystanders were capable to propulsion galore radical to information from the rubble.

Chandler said a partial survey of structural harm recovered astatine slightest 860 destroyed homes and much than 700 damaged. Hospitals, schools, offices and churches were besides affected.

On the tiny land of Ile-a-Vache, astir 6.5 miles (10.5 kilometers) from Les Cayes, the quake damaged a seaside edifice fashionable with Haitian officials, concern leaders, diplomats and humanitarian workers. Fernand Sajous, proprietor of the Abaka Bay Resort, said by telephone that 9 of the hotel’s 30 rooms collapsed, but helium said they were vacant astatine the clip and nary 1 was injured.

“They disappeared — conscionable similar that,” Sajous said.

People successful Les Cayes tried to propulsion guests from the rubble of a collapsed hotel, but arsenic the prima set, they had lone been capable to retrieve the assemblage of a 7-year-old miss whose location was down the facility.

“I person 8 kids, and I was looking for the past one,” Jean-Claude Daniel said done tears. “I volition ne'er spot her again alive. The earthquake destroyed my life. It took a kid distant from me.”

The reports of overwhelmed hospitals travel arsenic Haiti struggles with the pandemic and a deficiency of resources to woody with it. The state of 11 cardinal radical received its archetypal batch of U.S.-donated coronavirus vaccines lone past period via a United Nations programme for low-income countries.

The earthquake besides struck conscionable implicit a period aft President Jovenel Moïse was changeable to decease successful his home, sending the state into governmental chaos. His widow, Martine Moïse, who was earnestly wounded successful the attack, posted a connection connected Twitter calling for unity among Haitians: “Let’s enactment our shoulders unneurotic to bring solidarity.”

As helium boarded a level bound for Les Cayes, Henry said helium wanted “structured solidarity” to guarantee the effect was coordinated to debar the disorder that followed the devastating 2010 earthquake, erstwhile assistance was dilatory to scope residents aft arsenic galore arsenic 300,000 Haitians were killed.

U.S. President Joe Biden authorized an contiguous effect and named USAID Administrator Samantha Power to oversee the U.S effort to assistance Haiti. USAID volition assistance to measure harm and assistance successful rebuilding, said Biden, who called the United States a “close and enduring person to the radical of Haiti.”

Power announced Sunday that USAID was sending a hunt and rescue squad astatine the petition of Haiti's government. The 65-person squad volition bring specialized tools and aesculapian supplies to assistance with the catastrophe response, Power said connected Twitter.

Argentina and Chile besides were among the archetypal nations to committedness help.

The North Carolina-based assistance radical Samaritan’s Purse announced Sunday it would airlift 13 catastrophe effect specialists and 31 tons of exigency supplies to Haiti. Those see structure materials and h2o filtration units.

Humanitarian workers said pack enactment successful the seaside territory of Martissant, conscionable westbound of the Haitian capital, besides was complicating alleviation efforts.

“Nobody tin question done the area,” Ndiaga Seck, a UNICEF spokesperson successful Port-au-Prince, said by phone. “We tin lone alert implicit oregon instrumentality different route.”

Seck said accusation astir deaths and harm was dilatory coming to Port-au-Prince due to the fact that of spotty net service, but UNICEF planned to nonstop aesculapian supplies to 2 hospitals successful the south, successful Les Cayes and Jeremie.

People successful Port-au-Prince felt the tremor and galore rushed into the streets successful fear, though determination did not look to beryllium harm there.

Haiti, wherever galore unrecorded successful tenuous circumstances, is susceptible to earthquakes and hurricanes. A magnitude 5.9 earthquake successful 2018 killed much than a twelve people.

By aboriginal Sunday, the land had experienced six aftershocks stronger than magnitude 5.0 and much supra 4.0.

Claude Prepetit, a Haitian civilian technologist and geologist, warned of the information from cracked structures.

“More oregon little intensive aftershocks are to beryllium expected for a month,” helium said, cautioning that immoderate buildings, “badly damaged during the earthquake, tin illness during aftershocks.”


Regina Garcia Cano reported from Mexico City. AP writers Tammy Webber successful Fenton, Michigan, Josh Boak successful Washington and Trenton Daniel successful New York contributed to this report.

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