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Why Haiti’s rescue efforts and resources should be controlled by Haitians

In Haiti, the death toll from Saturday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake continues to rise to almost 2,000 people. In cities near the epicenter of Petit-Trou-de-Nippes, Tropical Storm Grace brought heavy rains and flooding, exacerbating already-difficult recovery efforts. Ali Rogin provides an update.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    As we reported, the death toll in Haiti continues to rise to almost 2,000 people following last weekend's earthquake. Thousands more are injured, and the hospitals are overwhelmed.

    In cities near the quake's epicenter, Tropical Storm Grace brought heavy rains and flooding, exacerbating already difficult recovery efforts.

    The "NewsHour"'s Ali Rogin has an update.

  • Ali Rogin:

    In Southern Haiti, survivors of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake had little time to brace for a second disaster, Tropical Storm Grace. People whose homes were destroyed in the earthquake tried to protect themselves under flimsy tents. But, overnight, they provided little shelter from howling winds.

  • Theard Andrise (through translator):

    The rain fell on top of us. We slept sitting down on chairs. Nobody has come to help us. We have no tarps. We sleep here sitting down.

  • Ali Rogin:

    Those whose homes survived the quake now face flooding. The storm made an already difficult recovery mission even harder.

    Hospitals continue to fill up with people who couldn't reach them after the earthquake. Supplies are growing scarce.

    Lanette Nuel brought her daughter to this hospital in the city of Les Cayes. But doctors were unable to treat her.

  • Lanette Nuel (through translator):

    We came in yesterday afternoon. They didn't do anything for her. They just gave her a painkiller. She died in my arms this morning.

  • Ali Rogin:

    With so many ailing people in close quarters, COVID-19 is a constant threat. Haiti only began receiving vaccines last month.

  • Christy Delafield:

    We're talking about people who are clinically vulnerable, who have not yet had a chance to get some protection against this virus, at the same time as people are now needing to go into mass shelters or crowd together in tightly enclosed spaces or crowded spaces in order to find some shelter from rains, which have only just stopped last night.

  • Ali Rogin:

    Christy Delafield is with the humanitarian organization Mercy Corps in the hard-hit neighborhood of L'Asile. She said it's important that the recovery from this earthquake be led by Haitians.

    People in Haiti remember the last major earthquake, which killed hundreds of thousands in 2010. Much of the $13.5 billion in humanitarian aid raised never made it into Haitian hands.

  • Christy Delafield:

    Every response has to be led by the community. If any of us had a disaster in our own community, we would know where the resources are. We would know who had access to what types of information, to what types of tools. And it's exactly the same here.

  • Ali Rogin:

    But, for now, many Haitians are focused on more immediate challenges, like finding food and shelter to survive another day.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Ali Rogin.

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