Port-au-Prince, 16 August – Following a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that leveled parts of Haiti on Saturday, killing some 1,300 people and injuring thousands, Save the Children is racing to cover basic needs of the most severely affected children and families as a tropical storm approaches.
The earthquake razed thousands of buildings to the ground in western Haiti and demolished one of the main bridges leading into the hardest hit area.
The aid organization is conducting a needs assessment in the worst-affected areas of Les Cayes and Grand-Anse to prioritize its emergency response.
Leila Bourahla, Save the Children’s Haiti country director, said:
“The loss of life and the destruction are heartbreaking in a country that was already struggling. Our teams in the impacted area are telling us that thousands of children and their families are sleeping outside, as their homes have been destroyed or they fear aftershocks. This leaves them at a risk of violence or abuse, so one of the most urgent needs is safe shelters such as tents. People also need food and clean water to prevent the outbreak of diseases.
“Right now, we are using our emergency stocks to provide immediate assistance to 250 affected families. We are also providing basic items and baby kits to families as well as preparing to provide cash transfers, child protection, education spaces for children, health and nutrition, and psychosocial support.
“Save the Children will – with other international and local non-profit organizations – make sure that we are providing assistance to those who need it most.
“Tropical Storm Grace is approaching and likely to produce significant rainfall in earthquake affected areas, possibly as soon as Monday. We are concerned this storm will complicate access, search and rescue efforts.”
Save the Children has worked in Haiti since 1978, providing nutrition, early learning, and water and sanitation programs. The international humanitarian organization responded when Hurricane Matthew struck the same area in 2016, and following the 2010 earthquake.
To learn more about our work, visit www.savethechildren.ca
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Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In Canada and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.