New Delhi: The mortality toll from a harmful earthquake in Haiti escalated to 1,297 on Sunday as neighboring countries hurried to send aid and rescuers struggled to find survivors covered beneath the debris before a tropical storm hits.
The 7.2 magnitude quake on Saturday ruined thousands of homes and buildings in a Caribbean nation which is still clawing its way back from another major tremor years ago and is shocked from the killing of its president last month.
Southwestern Haiti felt the effect more from the blow, especially in the area in and around the town of Les Cayes. Haiti`s Civil Protection Agency said the toll from the disaster had reached 1,297 and the hospitals that were still functioning were struggling to cope with some 5,700 wounded people listed so far.
“We must work coordinatedly to supply rapid and effective reactions to this extremely serious situation,” said Haiti`s Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who had flown to Les Cayes.
Rescue workers struggled to find survivors covered under buildings a day after the 7.2 magnitude quake and as a tropical storm moved rapidly on the Caribbean nation.
The quake destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings in a Caribbean nation which is still clawing its way back from another major tremor 11 years ago and upset from the killing of its president last month.
The rescue and aid attempts will be complicated by Tropical Storm Grace, which is anticipated to blow Haiti with heavy precipitations on Monday. Some parts of Haiti are also at risk of flash floods, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
“We are rejuvenating for Tropical Storm Grace,” the Civil Protection Agency`s Chandler told Reuters. Thousands of people sleeping in the streets would be naked to the torrential rains amid a rising risk of water-borne contamination, he said.
Videotape of Saturday`s impacts posted on social media showed residents reaching into narrow openings in piles of fallen masonry to pull shocked and distressed people from the rubbles of walls and roofs that had collapsed around them.
Access to the worst-influenced areas was complicated by a worsening in law and order that has left major access roads in parts of Haiti in the hands of gangs. In a video posted on social media, one gang leader said the armed groups had announced a truce along the route to Les Cayes.
Nearby nations, including the Dominican Republic and Mexico, hurried to send desperately needed food and medicines by air and across Haiti’s land boundary.
The United States conveyed vital supplies and placed a 65-person urban search-and-rescue team with specialized equipment, said Samantha Power, the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).