On Saturday, August 14th, an earthquake of 7.2 magnitude struck Haiti, stronger than the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated the country back in 2010.
According to the United States Geological Survey, the quake struck five miles outside of Petit Trou de Nippes, a town about 80 miles west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The quake, which had a depth of seven miles, was felt as far away as Jamaica, 200 miles away from Haiti.
Haitian officials raised the death toll on Tuesday afternoon to 1,941 and the number of injured to 9,900, many of whom have had to wait for medical help lying outside in the heat. Tropical Storm Grace, which hit the country only a few days later, forced a temporary stop to search and rescue efforts, and this delay fueled growing anger and frustration among thousands who were left homeless.
Tens of thousands of families have lost their homes as a result of the earthquake and the flooding from Tropical Storm Grace. These disasters have exacerbated the struggles Haiti was already facing, including widespread gang violence, political instability, and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. The assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July sent the country further into a state of uncertainty. Through all these obstacles, Haiti must now treat thousands of injured people, house displaced families, and rebuild the country’s infrastructure.
According to UNICEF, an estimated 1.2 million people, including 540,000 children, have been affected by the earthquake. Compounding the struggles Haitians have faced during the pandemic and a time of political unrest, four million people are struggling with food insecurity and hunger. Survivors of the earthquake don’t have food, shelter, or adequate medical care. New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn wrote a letter to President Joe Biden requesting various types of support for Haitians, including food assistance. The letter was signed by other Sew York State Assembly Members as well as New York City Council Member Farah N. Louis.
New Yorkers eager to help Haitians in need can find multiple ways to help throughout the city and beyond. For monetary donations, residents can give through the Mayor’s Fund. Furthermore, the mayor’s office advised New Yorkers to donate to certain vetted charities and relief organizations: Capracare, Partners in Health, Hope for Haiti and Ayiti Community Trust. The US Agency for International Development also vetted reputable organizations accepting cash donations. In addition to Capracare, Cash donations are needed not only to purchase food and other items on the ground, but also to pay for the shipment of supply donations.
For residents who want to donate supplies, there are a number of drop-off sites. All NYPD precincts are collecting donations of medical supplies, hygiene products, bottled water, clothing and non-perishable food. At Queens Borough Hall, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards is also accepting donations of bottled water, non-perishable food, personal care products, toiletries and feminine hygiene products through September 22. In Brooklyn, donations can be dropped off at the offices of Assemblymember Diana Richardson and Representative Yvette Clarke of Brooklyn, who is co-chair of the House Haiti Caucus. Other elected officials supporting supply donation drop-off sites include Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, collecting in Flatbush, and Council Member Farah N. Louis, collecting at Brooklyn Commons and the Haitian American Caucus.
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