Update: Death toll now more than 2,100 as Haiti digs out from major earthquake

Aug 19, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with a revised death toll and new details.


A major earthquake hit already reeling Haiti Saturday morning Aug. 14, 2021. The New York Times first reported the 7.2 quake collapsed buildings and caused heavy damage in at least two cities. The quake was felt as far away as Jamaica.  The death toll rose to more than 2,100 as of Aug. 19, but those numbers are expected to climb. More than 12,000 have been injured.

Aid has been coming in, but not enough is reaching the stricken parts of Haiti as damaged roads and other infrastructure hampers aid efforts. The Associated Press reports that the earthquake and series of aftershocks have damaged or destroyed more than 19,000 homes. Thousands of people are homeless and many have been waiting days for medical treatment.

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According to the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake was centered just off the coast about five miles from the town of Petit Trout de Nippes about 80 miles west of Port-au-Prince. There have been several large aftershocks that have rocked the region.

Pictures and videos of the damage and of injured people being rescued circulated widely on social media.

The United States Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for “some coasts,” but there were no reports of major tsunami waves.

(Screenshot courtesy United States Geological Survey)

Haiti has been beset by crisis including food shortages and the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse July 7. Haiti also suffered another major earthquake back in 2010 that killed some 200,000 people and left much of the country in ruins.

The prime minister and interim president Ariel Henry declared a state of emergency, and said, “I offer my sympathy to the parents of the victims of this violent earthquake that has caused loss of human life and material damager in several departments of the country.”

A White House official told news outlet the Hill that President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris,  “were briefed by the National Security Advisor and the Secretary of State on the earthquake this morning in Haiti.”

President Biden has reportedly authorized aid, and appointed USAID (United States Agency for International Development) Administrator Samantha Powers to coordinate this effort.

You can donate via UNICEF at their dedicated Haiti relief page here.

Food for the Poor – a relief agency – said they had just delivered food to three distribution centers, but are asking for donations. CEO Ed Raine, in a statement to the press said, “Once again, we wake up to news from Haiti that breaks our hearts and calls on us to respond immediately to those affected by this devastating earthquake.”

Raine also said, “This could not have come at a worse time for this country that is reeling still from the assassination of President Jovenel Moise and that just narrowly escaped a tropical storm. No matter what comes for Haiti, we stand with the people of Haiti.”

Food for the Poor has set up a donation page for relief efforts: Go to www.foodforthepoor.org/haitiemergency to give.

Featured image of the Director General of Civil Protection Jerry Chandler speaking during a press conference in Port-au-Prince on August 14, 2021, after an earthquake struck the southwest peninsula of the country by REGINALD LOUISSAINT JR/AFP via Getty Images.

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