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Tropical depression threatens further devastation in earthquake-hit Haiti

August 16, 2021

A tropical storm system is threatening to unleash flash flooding and mudslides on the area of Haiti where a 7.2-magnitude earthquake killed almost 1,300 people on Saturday.

Tropical Depression Grace was approaching the southern coast of Hispaniola, the island comprising Haiti and the Dominican Republic, early Monday bringing with it sustained winds of 35 mph (56 km/h), and higher gusts, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.

Tropical storm conditions are possible in the Dominican Republic and Haiti later today, Brink said, adding that several inches of rain are forecast — with up to 15 inches (38 centimeters) possible in some isolated areas — through Tuesday.

“I am worried about the upcoming storm as it can complicate the situation for us,” Jerry Chandler, head of Haiti’s civil protection agency, said on Sunday.

The agency reported at least 1,297 people dead and more than 5,700 injured on Sunday. Those numbers are expected to rise as search and rescue efforts continue.

The quake destroyed 13,694 homes and damaged another 13,785, officials from the agency said.

The destruction has also pushed hospitals to the brink and blocked roads, making it difficult for vital supplies to reach the affected areas.

“We really need help, yesterday I was helping at the hospital and things were out of control,” a volunteer named Marcelin Lorejoie told CNN on Sunday.

“Not enough doctors, not enough medicines and we have people with serious injuries. We need urgent help before things (get) more complicated.”

Authorities are going from house to house in search of survivors — efforts which demand a tremendous amount of resources.

At the site of one collapsed hotel, a CNN team saw just one excavator, which was not working at the time. There was no police or security presence nearby, as people carried air conditioning units away from the wrecked building.

The earthquake struck at 8:30 a.m. local time on Saturday, at a depth of about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles); its epicenter was about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) northeast of Saint-Louis-du-Sud in the southwest part of the country.

That location is about 96 kilometers (60 miles) west of the epicenter of the disastrous 7.0-magnitude quake that killed an estimated 220,000 to 300,000 people in 2010.

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