Major earthquake hits Haiti, killing over 1,200 

The earthquake struck approximately 130 kilometers west of the capital Port-au-Prince. Caritas Haiti has reported that the dioceses Jeremy, Anse-à-Veau and Miragoâne and Les Cayes are the worst affected and that people have left their homes to wait in the streets or open spaces in fear of aftershocks and further damage to buildings.   

There has been damage to church buildings and injuries to clergy, with one priest killed.  

"This disaster compounds problems facing the nation, which is already reeling from a political crisis following the assassination of its president last month,” said Melville Fernandez, Caritas Australia’s Humanitarian Emergencies Manager.   

"There is immediate and urgent need for food, water, shelter, hygiene kits and first aid on the ground, especially as the country continues to grapple with COVID-19 with limited resources.”  

“This latest disaster has come on top of decades of chronic instability, dictatorships, and natural disasters, which have left Haiti as the poorest nation in the Americas. This latest earthquake was actually stronger than the 2010 quake which killed more than 220,000 people – even though the death toll this time is lower because it didn’t hit a major city, the impacts are still going to be felt for a long time.”  

“It’s especially concerning that now Tropical Depression Grace is projected to pass over Haiti late Monday or early Tuesday, which may lead to flooding and potential mudslides. This is going to make crisis response much more challenging.”  

Infrastructure is damaged and high demand is overwhelming communications systems capacity. The Caritas network has staff and local partners on the ground assessing and responding to immediate needs.   

Visit caritas.org.au or call 1800 024 413 toll free to provide much needed support to vulnerable communities by donating to our Emergency Response Appeal.     

Media contact: Jessica Stone 0490 684 867   

jessica.stone@caritas.org.au or caritasmedia@caritas.org.au.