A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Haiti on 14 August at 8:30 am local time. The earthquake occurred 13km southeast of Petit-Trou-de-Nippes, in the department of Nippes, about 125km west of the capital Port-au-Prince. It occurred at a depth of 10km and was followed by a number of aftershocks, the strongest of which was 5.2 magnitude (CDEMA 14/08/2021; USGS 14/08/2021 a; Independent 17/08/2021). Tropical Depression Grace passed over Haiti on Monday 16 August, resulting in flooding and landslides (CDEMA 18/08/2021).
At least 2.2 million people were exposed to the earthquake, about 2,100 people have died, and more than 12,000 were injured as at 20 August. The death toll is expected to rise as the search for victims trapped under rubble continues. The Government has declared a month-long state of emergency for the most affected departments (LCI 19/08/2021; USAID 18/08/2021 a).
The most affected areas are in the departments of Sud, Nippes, and Grand’Anse. Jérémie (Grand’Anse department) and Les Cayes (Sud department) arrondissements recorded the most infrastructure damage (Le Temps 15/08/2021; Europe 1 15/08/2021; Government of Haiti 14/08/2021). At least 650,000 people need emergency humanitarian assistance – about 40% of the population of the three affected departments (CDEMA 19/08/2021).
More than 50,000 houses were destroyed and over 70,000 were damaged in Sud, Nippes, and Grand’Anse departments, leaving thousands of people homeless (CDEMA 19/08/2021). Severe damage to public buildings, including hospitals and schools, was reported. Those hospitals that are still functional are overwhelmed and likely to lack medicine and equipment to treat all wounded patients (AP 15/08/2021). There are reports of buildings that collapsed following aftershocks (CDEMA 19/08/2021).
Emergency shelter remains a priority, as well as access to water after earthquake damage to the local water systems (USAID 18/08/2021 a). Priority items include water, tarpaulin, food, medical assistance, and sanitary kits. Assessments are still taking place (CDEMA 19/08/2021).
Tropical Storm Grace resulted in heavy rains, strong winds, and flooding as it made landfall as a tropical depression, destroying some makeshift shelters and generating additional risk of collapse for damaged structures (USAID 19/08/2021).