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A deadly earthquake in Haiti over the weekend has dealt another devastating blow to the nation mired in political crisis.
At least 1,419 people have died and some 6,000 are injured following the earthquake. Tens of thousands more are displaced — officials say over 7,000 homes were destroyed and 5,000 are damaged. In some places, rescue efforts have been affected by landslides cutting off roads. Tropical Storm Grace hit the southwestern part of the country — where the earthquake struck the hardest — with heavy rainfall Monday, forcing the Haitian government to temporarily pause its response.
Saturday’s earthquake was centered in Nippes, 78 miles west of Port-au-Prince but could be felt as far away as Jamaica. The U.S. Geological Survey said aftershocks could continue for weeks.
Chronic poverty, widespread gang violence and political instability will complicate the nation’s ability to recover from the latest disaster. The government is particularly fragile after Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July. The country is immersed in political turmoil as none of the suspects detained for the assassination have been taken to court, over a month after the president was killed–raising questions about how the country can come together in times of political and natural crises.
Like the rest of the world, Haiti is also still in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Vaccinations for COVID-19 had begun less than two weeks before when the earthquake struck. Officially, Haiti has seen more than 20,500 COVID-19 cases and 570 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University, but a lack of robust testing suggests that the true number is far higher.
Saturday’s earthquake was more powerful than the 2010 earthquake, which killed an estimated 230,000 people and injured 300,000. Recovery efforts for the 2010 earthquake took years, and investigations have raised whether victims ever received much of the money raised.
As the crises across Haiti compound, here are some ideas for how to help:
Chloe Jones is the Roy W. Howard fellow for the PBS NewsHour. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @chloeleejones.
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