Earthquake in Haiti: one year later – Haiti
On August 14, 2021, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck southwestern Haiti, killing more than 2,200 people and leaving at least 600,000 in need of humanitarian assistance. On the one-year anniversary of the earthquake, USAID reflects on how the disaster response saved lives, supported communities, and enhanced the resilience of the Haitian people.
“One of the most devastating aspects of an earthquake is that, unlike a storm or volcanic eruption, you can’t see it coming. There is no warning. It makes the need faster than ever.- Tim Callaghan, Regional Director of USAID’s Humanitarian Assistance Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean
On August 14, 2021, the same day the earthquake struck Haiti, USAID deployed a Disaster Response Team (DART), comprised of elite disaster experts and experts techniques from the USAID Humanitarian Assistance Office. Their mission: To lead and coordinate the US government’s humanitarian response on the ground.
From the time the team landed in Haiti, DART has worked to search for survivors, assess humanitarian needs, and coordinate with the Government of Haiti and humanitarian partners to provide lifesaving assistance to those affected by the earthquake. of magnitude 7.2.
Here’s how USAID helped the people of Haiti during the response, as well as how we’re continuing to support communities a year later:
Boots to the ground in the hardest hit areas
Due to the large-scale damage caused by the earthquake – with more than 115,000 homes and critical infrastructure damaged or destroyed – the government of Haiti requested assistance with urban search and rescue, and the USAID answered the call.
Members of the USAID Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team from Fairfax County, Virginia Fire and Rescue Department, arrived in Haiti on August 15. specialized equipment books – including tools to help break through concrete, such as saws and drills, as well as medical equipment.
While in the field, USAR members conducted structural assessments of earthquake-damaged buildings, served as a crucial source of information on conditions and needs in the hardest-hit areas, and, in a few cases, even provided medical care.
“Our teams helped identify immediate community needs and relay them to our USAID DART counterparts. These activities were essential to give a voice to the community,” explained John Dumsick, USAR Structures Specialist.
In some communities, residents were still sleeping rough days after the initial earthquake due to fear of aftershocks and collapsing buildings. USAR members reached 15 of the hardest hit communities during their time in Haiti.
“Our reconnaissance team was able to quickly examine the structural integrity of many of these buildings and provide assurances and allay some of the concerns of these communities, who have been through so much,” Dumsick added.
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