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A vehicle ploughs through mud after floodwaters receded. (CMC photo)

Haiti: Earthquake, floods cause more deaths

June 7, 2023

CMC – The United Nations has expressed “deep sadness” as another deadly earthquake claimed the lives of at least three people near the Haitian city of Jerémie in the early hours of Tuesday, compounding an already life-threatening situation in recent days caused by flooding and landslides.

The 5.5 magnitude quake struck in the department of Grand’Anse following torrential rains which have displaced more than 13,000 people.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life, destruction of property and suffering of the Haitian people caused by the earthquake”, said UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, adding “the Secretary-General extends his condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to all those injured.”

He said the UN stood ready to work with the Haitian authorities and other partners to help ease the suffering of those impacted by this latest natural disaster.

On Monday, the World Food Programme (WFP) said that it was already providing immediate assistance to those affected by the massive rainfall over the weekend, providing hot meals to those displaced, and mobilizing ready-to-eat rations and dry food.

Dujarric said that Grand’ Anse was among the areas impacted by the rains prior to the earthquake.

According to reports, Tuesday’s quake was the second to strike the area in just two days, with a 4.4 magnitude tremor registered on Sunday.

In August 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the same southern peninsula region, leaving hundreds dead.

Dujarric said the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is working with the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, the World Food Program (WFP) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support communities around the capital Port-au-Prince that were hardest hit by the floods and landslides.

He said WFP is ready to distribute some 350,000 hot meals and other food assistance overall to those who need it the most.

“Our colleagues say that ongoing insecurity and damage to roads are obviously hampering any relief efforts,” the UN spokesperson said.

According to UN humanitarians, the floods and landslides affected seven of Haiti’s 10 departments, and authorities say at least 51 people have been killed, 140 others injured and 18 are still missing.

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