Saturday morning, August 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck about 150 km west of the capital Port-au-Prince in Haiti. At a depth of 10 km according to the U.S. Geological Survey, this earthquake is bigger and shallower than the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck Haiti 11 years ago. The quake has left at least 1,900 people dead and injured another 5,700. It destroyed more than 60,000 homes and damaged another 76,000.
Heart to Heart International – Haiti, led by the new Medical Director Dr. Laila Bien-Aimé, has a team of local Haitian doctors and nurses on the ground in Haiti in the areas impacted by the earthquake. HHI has maintained a health program in Haiti ever since the earthquake in 2010, so the team was able to immediately respond and started treating people within 36 hours after the quake. The team has been treating patients with fractures and other injuries as well as distributing medicine and supplies to local clinics. HHI is also preparing and sending several large shipments of medicines, medical supplies and hygiene kits to the impacted areas. HHI has previously worked in this part of Haiti during Hurricane Matthew and has been connecting with officials and partners in the region.
On Tuesday, August 17, the saw many patients with fractures and other wounds from the earthquake being treated by a local traditional doctor who was offering plant-based remedies and ointments. The team collaborated with the traditional doctor to treat some patients he had already seen, as they had identified many vulnerable high-risk septicemia patients. The team also provided medicines to a local orthopedist whose clinic had run out. They cleaned wounds, made splints and identified patients who were high risk and required evacuation for surgical care. The team treated more than 50 patients and were able to use local leaders and community members to identify which patients needed assistance.
Earliest reports show that approx. 400,000 people were extremely impacted by the earthquake and an additional million people were moderately-severely impacted
HHI has had a presence in Haiti since the massive earthquake 11 years ago. The team in Haiti focuses its work on healthcare, community development and disaster preparedness. Our 100% Haitian team provide outpatient and family medicine at clinics throughout the country.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, an all-Haitian medical team from HHI deployed to Puerto Rico to treat patients in the rural mountain region. The team was incredibly well-received because they had previous personal experience recovering from natural disasters.
HHI is extremely grateful for our friends and colleagues in the Haiti office and their determination and passion to reach those most significantly impacted. As we continue to learn more over the coming days, HHI will continue to consider more ways to offer assistance and support for the people of Southern Haiti.