Haiti Earthquake 2021 Situation Report # 3 – September 20, 2021 – Haiti
On August 14, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, leaving more than 650,000 people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
Aid is particularly needed in hard-to-reach rural areas that were hit hardest by the earthquake.
Security, transport and communication constraints have restricted humanitarian access to areas where relief is most needed.
As of September 19, International Medical Corps has provided more than 1,419 medical consultations and distributed more than 7,000 liters of potable water to residents and health care providers.
On August 14, 2021, a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Haiti, leaving at least 2,248 dead and 12,763 injured. As efforts shift from emergency to recovery, ensuring that humanitarian assistance reaches those most in need remains a challenge, given the deteriorating security situation, limited humanitarian access and limited communication, especially in rural areas. The Haitian Civil Protection Directorate (known by its French abbreviation DGPC) reported that rural areas were much more affected than large urban centers. These areas are particularly vulnerable, as they already had limited access to essential services, including health care, before the earthquake. In addition, many people in these rural areas depend on agriculture as their main source of income; and their livelihoods have been affected by the combined impacts of the earthquake and the Grace Tropical Depression.
The earthquake further exacerbated the country’s pre-existing vulnerabilities. Before the earthquake, the country struggled with growing food insecurity, deteriorating infrastructure, disruption of local markets due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing gang violence. These problems became even more serious in the aftermath of the earthquake.
This month, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Women’s Rights, in partnership with CARE and UN Women, conducted a rapid gender analysis that included comments from 4,000 interviewees in Grand’Anse, Nippes and South. Participants were asked a series of questions to assess the overall impact of the earthquake on access to services, livelihoods, shelter, gender-based violence, food security and water, sanitation and sanitation. hygiene (WASH). Among those surveyed, 54% of women and 46% of men said they had already encountered difficulties in accessing health services following the earthquake. The risks associated with the lack of health services were much higher for pregnant women and people with disabilities in these rural departments. In addition, some 32% of respondents indicated that they were experiencing psychological trauma and needed mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services. Almost a quarter of those surveyed reported a reduction in opportunities for paid work and income, disrupting local markets. Some 60% noted that the earthquake had led to increased food insecurity and weakened livelihoods. Some 53% of women and 56% of men live in damaged houses, with no way to finance repairs. Almost 20% of respondents have no shelter.
At the end of August, at the request of the Haitian government, International Medical Corps began the process of deploying its fixed type 1 emergency medical team (EMT) in Haiti to meet the urgent health needs of the affected populations in Aquin, located in the South department of the Tiburon peninsula. A Type 1 EMT is a self-contained outpatient health facility that is fully equipped to serve a minimum of 100 patients per day. In Haiti, EMT was deployed in partnership with the Haitian Resource Development Foundation (HRDF), a nonprofit organization with a mission to support projects and programs that deliver measurable results for program beneficiaries and ensure more great economic vitality in Haitian villages.
The facility began offering services on September 2. As of September 19, the team had provided 1,419 medical consultations to residents, of which 80 were directly related to the earthquake and 225 indirectly. The other patients arrived at the clinic seeking treatment for chronic illnesses. Health events directly related to the earthquake include mild and moderate trauma and mental health issues. Health events indirectly linked to the earthquake included skin infections and respiratory infections, caused by patients sleeping outside due to the destruction of their homes.
The demand for health services remains high in Aquin and its surroundings. Referrals remain a challenge across the Tiburon Peninsula, especially for orthopedic patients, as facilities are overwhelmed with the large number of patients requiring care. Despite challenges related to logistics, personnel and security, our team continues to care for over 100 patients per day at the clinic. To ensure the safety of staff and patients, the clinic is open Monday through Saturday during daylight hours only. Additionally, due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States – largely due to the Delta variant – and due to transportation and logistics issues in Haiti, staffing has been a challenge, resulting in fluctuations in the number of clinicians on site each day.
In addition to providing medical services, the International Medical Corps team has also distributed more than 7,000 liters of potable water to health facilities and other local non-governmental organizations in the region, providing essential support to health workers. residents of Aquin. The team also reached over 100 patients with health and hygiene promotion activities.
Given the increased need for SMSPS and gender-based violence (GBV) support services, the International Medical Corps team is integrating these services into adjacent community support spaces near the clinic. Our GBV team recruits candidates for advocacy and intervention roles focused on supporting vulnerable or affected women and girls, and providing appropriate services and pathways for these people. The GBV team is also conducting key informant interviews with community leaders and local organizations to inform the launch of a Safe Space for Women and Girls (WGSS), which will be used to organize information sessions and group activities. Thanks to WGSS, women will be able to access psychosocial support and connect safely to health services. In addition to integrating MPSSH into our medical services, International Medical Corps also prioritizes MPSSH for all volunteers deployed to support the clinic. The International Medical Corps Psychological First Aid Principles Course was distributed internally last week to all volunteers, and training is now required for medical volunteers deployed to Haiti.