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Haiti earthquake: the situation today

British Red Cross
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Following the massive earthquake that struck Haiti on 14th August 2021, the British Red Cross has launched the Haiti Earthquake Appeal in support of the Haitian Red Cross Last updated 21st September 2021

On 14th August, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti.

More than 2,200 people are reported to have died, with more than 12,200 reported injured.

Almost 53,000 homes have also been destroyed along with 25 health facilities and 127 schools.

The Haitian Red Cross has been responding since the earthquake hit. Six Red Cross ambulances have been transferring patients that were evacuated and 25,000 people and 5,000 families have been reached with essentials including blankets, kitchen kits and hygiene kits.

The British Red Cross has launched the Haiti Earthquake Appeal in support of the work the Haiti Red Cross is doing.

In recent days, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) has been working on setting up a field hospital. A woman who lives locally has spoken about the impact the earthquake has had on her: "I am a mother of 5. Since the earthquake struck I have been trying to rebuild our life but it is very difficult," she said. "The hospital the Red Cross is setting up is so important for me and for the whole community in this area. We need it."

When was the Haiti earthquake?

At 8.29am local time on Saturday 14th August, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, about seven miles from the town of Saint-Louis-du-Sud.

For perspective, the 2010 earthquake that killed 220,000 and left 1.5 million people homeless in Haiti, had a magnitude of 7.0. The country was still recovering from 2010’s earthquake.

Saturday’s earthquake has caused severe damage in the south of the country.

Four hospitals are reported to have been damaged in Les Cayes and Jérémie, where a cathedral and other religious buildings have also collapsed. Morning mass was being celebrated at the time.

Hotels, ports, bridges and roads have also been damaged, with an unknown number of people still trapped in rubble.

Early assessments by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) indicate that more than 800,000 people have been directly affected by the earthquake’s impact.

What is happening in Haiti now?

The scale of destruction in Haiti is enormous - 2.2 million people are believed to have felt the earthquake and its aftershocks. Life-saving efforts are the priority at a time when hospitals are severely over-stretched due to Covid-19.

Heavy rains caused by Tropical Storm Grace, which made landfall early on Tuesday 17th August), made the rescue operations more difficult.

The Haitian Red Cross, which has 200 staff and 10,000 volunteers, remains on the ground, providing search and rescue, first aid, emergency healthcare and shelter. Donations to the British Red Cross's Haiti Earthquake Appeal will support this response.

Red Cross emergency specialists have been deployed to Haiti to support the Haitian Red Cross's response to those affected, particularly the most vulnerable people.

Where is Haiti?

Haiti is located in the Caribbean Sea, and includes the western third of the island of Hispaniola and smaller islands including Gonave, Tortuga, Grande Caye, and Vache.

The capital is Port-au-Prince, which lies around 15 miles from the epicentre of the 2010 earthquake. The city was devastated by that quake.

The epicentre of the 14th August 2021 earthquake was around seven miles from the coastal town of Saint-Louis-du-Sud, on the south of the island.

How can I help those affected by the earthquake?

Donations to the British Red Cross's Haiti Earthquake Appeal will help scale up the Haitian Red Cross's response on the ground.

"The area affected is vast -- bigger than initial reports suggested," said Richard Blewitt, the British Red Cross's director of international. "Our number one priority is supporting the Haitian Red Cross as it continues search and rescue efforts and gets first aid and supplies to the injured and people who can't go back to damaged homes. With hundreds dead, people still trapped, and a major storm on the way, the situation is extremely serious. With this in mind, we've launched the Haiti Earthquake Appeal to help extend the response in Haiti, a country which was already facing multiple challenges including the ongoing impact of the earthquake in 2010, recent major storms and Covid-19."

As the Haitian Red Cross and IFRC assist in search and rescue efforts, more Red Cross teams are preparing to deploy to Haiti to join the Haitian Red Cross response, providing relief items for people's basic needs from the neighbouring Dominican Republic and other warehouses in Panama and the Caribbean.

What happened with the Red Cross in Haiti in 2010?

On social media, you may have seen people talking about the Red Cross's response to the 2010 earthquake. The story people are referring to is about the American Red Cross, who responded at the time.

The American Red Cross accounted for every donated dollar spent. You can see a financial breakdown of earthquake spending, as well as stories of the people who were helped, here.

The Haitian Red Cross, the British Red Cross and the American Red Cross are part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, which is made up of different national societies around the world.

Each society has a responsibility to help vulnerable people within its own borders, and to work with the Movement to protect and support those in crisis worldwide, wherever they may be.

The British Red Cross ran a separate appeal for Haiti in 2010. You can read more about how your donations helped here.

If you kindly donated to the British Red Cross's Haiti appeal in 2010, your money helped the Haitian Red Cross to reach thousands of people. The response included:

  • Providing 226,030 households with essentials like blankets, cooking equipment, and mosquito nets
  • The treatment of 229,977 people in Red Cross emergency healthcare facilities
  • Providing 195,160 households with food supplies
  • Distributing 1.2 billion litres of drinking water
  • Removing 149,204 cubic metres of rubble
  • Assisting 81,716 households with financial support.

What caused the earthquake in Haiti?

Haiti's history of earthquakes stems from the fact the country sits on a fault line between huge tectonic plates - the movement of which causes earthquakes.

Where can I learn more about the recovery efforts in Haiti?

We will continue to update this page as the situation develops. As always, our social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram and TikTok will keep you up to date on the situation in Haiti.