Authorities report extensive damage and many missing people
Los Cayos, Haiti – A hospital in southwestern Haiti, where an earthquake turned residences, businesses and other buildings into rubble over the weekend, was so overwhelmed that many patients had to lie down in patios, corridors, terraces and hallways .
As if that were not enough, the imminent arrival of a tropical depression on Monday night forced the authorities to relocate them as best as possible given the poor conditions of the hospital.
Even those patients ran with some fortune. Haiti’s Civil Protection Directorate raised the death toll from Saturday’s earthquake to 1,419 on Monday, and the injured to 6,000, many of whom have had to wait to be treated in the scorching heat or even on the track. from an airport.
“We had planned to place tents (in the hospital grounds), but they told us that was not safe,” said Gede Peterson, director of Les Cayes General Hospital.
This is not the first time that staff have been forced to improvise. The hospital’s morgue’s refrigeration system has been broken for three months, and after Saturday’s earthquake, staff have had to store up to 20 bodies in the confined space. Family members of the victims came as quickly as possible to take most of the bodies to private embalming services or for immediate burial. There were only three bodies in the morgue on Monday.
The earthquake shook the southwestern part of the poorest nation on the continent, almost wiping out some towns and causing landslides that hampered rescue efforts in a country already ravaged by the covid-19 pandemic, a presidential assassination and a wave of violence from gangs.
The quake, with an epicenter about 125 kilometers (80 miles) west of the capital Port-au-Prince, almost completely wiped out entire communities and triggered landslides that hamper rescue efforts in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Before Saturday’s earthquake, Haiti was already grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, rising gang violence, rising poverty rates and political uncertainty following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7.
And the devastation could worsen with the arrival of Tropical Depression Grace, which is expected to make landfall Monday night with the possibility of strong winds, downpours, mudslides and flooding. Rainfall could reach 15 inches (38 centimeters) in some areas, the agency said.
“Right now we are working to ensure that the resources we have available reach the most affected places,” said Jerry Chandler, director of Civil Protection, referring to the provinces of Les Cayes, Jeremie and Nippe, in the southwest of the country.
Three days after the earthquake, the injured continued to go to the crowded Les Cayes General Hospital. Patients waited for care in stairways, corridors, and on the hospital terrace.
“After two days, in general most of them are almost always infected,” said Dr. Paurus Michelete, who has seen 250 patients and was one of just three doctors on duty at the time of the earthquake.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.