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Major Earthquake Hits Haiti

August 14, 2021

At least two cities were severely damaged by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Haiti early Saturday morning, leaving people trapped in the rubble. UNICEF is working with partners to rush vital assistance to children and families in need.

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A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck southwestern Haiti on Saturday morning, August 14. The quake was felt in the nation's capital, Port-au-Prince, but the epicenter was detected about 80 miles west near Saint-Louis-du-Sud.

Serious damage, injuries and casualties have been reported in the Grand'Anse, Sud and Nippes departments, affecting an estimated 1.2 million people, including 540,000 children. At least 1,900 have died and more than 9,900 were injured, according to Haiti's civil protection service. Many are still missing. More than 115,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed, along with public infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and bridges. 

Serious damage, injuries and casualties reported from the earthquake in Haiti

“We are deeply saddened by the reports of casualties and heavy damage following the earthquake earlier today in Haiti,” said Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representative in Haiti. “UNICEF is working with government and non-government partners to provide support to affected communities. We stand in solidarity with families and children during this difficult time.”

The Haiti earthquake is the latest in an unfolding array of humanitarian crises threatening the lives and futures of children in the country, including the COVID-19 pandemic, rising political instability and a deteriorating economy. The nation is still recovering from the effects of a disastrous earthquake that occurred along the same fault line in 2010, killing more than 220,000 people.

Haiti was already facing multiple crises before the quake

UNICEF staff are already on the ground making assessments in order to prioritize urgent needs and provide assistance to affected populations. "The humanitarian needs in affected areas are acute as essential services have been disrupted," UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said on August 16. "Many people urgently need health care and clean water. Those who are displaced need shelter. Children who have been separated from their families amidst the chaos need protection. 

"UNICEF medical kits to support 30,000 people have already been delivered to Les Cayes with additional health, water and sanitation supplies on the way. We will continue to prioritize the resumption of essential services — including water and sanitation, health, nutrition and shelter — for the affected population."

Heavy damage was reported following a major earthquake in Haiti early on August 14, 2021. © UNICEF

While aftershocks may occur in the coming days, UNICEF will continue to work in areas affected by the Haiti earthquake. Despite security and logistical challenges, UNICEF expects to provide aid by utilizing emergency supplies pre-positioned in warehouses across the country.

UNICEF is on the ground before, during and after emergencies, providing vital assistance to children and families. Please donate to support UNICEF's lifesaving work.

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For more information on how UNICEF is responding to the earthquake in Haiti, read UNICEF's latest situation report.

Top photo: People drive past the remains of the Sacré Coeur des Cayes church in Les Cayes on August 15, 2021, after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti’s southwest peninsula. © UNICEF/UN0502832/Louissaint JR/AFP