UNICEF Says Haiti Earthquake Affected Around 1.2m People

UNICEF said about 1.2 million people, including 540,000 children, have been hard-hit by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Saturday morning.

So far, 1,941 deaths and more than 6,900 injured have been reported, but numbers are expected to rise in the coming days.

Authorities have deployed firefighters, police officers, and rescuers to speed up search and rescue processes.

However, efforts have been hampered by a lack of resources. Besides, heavy rains have hit the region, causing mudslides that blocked roads in Haiti.

The country faces Tropical Storm Grace, which is “further disrupting access to water, shelter, and other basic services,” UNICEF said on Tuesday.

It added that floods and landslides caused by heavy rains were likely to “worsen the situation” for vulnerable families, further complicating the humanitarian response.

Donor governments and humanitarian organizations have increased their efforts to assist Haiti in its recovery.

The European Union donated $3.5 million to Haiti while the United Nations allocated $8 million in aid.

A task force formed by the Pentagon has assisted USAID in disaster relief efforts.

Bruno Maes, UNICEF’s representative in Haiti, stated that he had witnessed strong winds and rains in the earthquake-affected areas.

“Countless Haitian families who have lost everything due to the earthquake are now living literally with their feet in the water due to the flooding,” he said.

Meanwhile, the agency distributes showers, latrines, tarps, showers, water tanks and hygiene kits to affected people as part of a joint effort with partners.

While there are no rainfall reports or radar observing data available outside the country, an NOAA satellite estimated that approximately 2 to 4 inches (60 to 100 millimeters) of rain have fallen during the last 24 hours before 11:00 a.m. Tuesday.

Satellite images have shown thunderstorms impacting Haiti’s western parts.

Given its topography, the island is prone to mudslides. Moreover, the recent earthquake and its aftershocks have destabilized the soil.

Therefore, heavy rains over a short period could lead to dangerous, even deadly landslides, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.

On Saturday, the earthquake destroyed tens of thousands of homes, the civil protection agency said. It also blocked roads and damaged infrastructure, making it difficult for vital supplies to reach the worst-hit areas.

Roads between the cities of Les Cayes and Jeremie have been clogged by aftershocks and landslides.

Additionally, local hospitals said they had collapsed due to the sheer number of victims, adding that they desperately need medical supplies.