Rescue efforts continue in Haiti after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake battered the country. Saturday’s earthquake killed at least 1,297 and left another 5,700 people injured, with thousands more displaced from destroyed or damaged homes.
Connecticut organizations are jumping in to help those affected in Haiti.
Americares, based in Stamford, already has medicine and relief supplies on the way to Haiti for survivors. Relief workers in Haiti and the U.S. are assessing the damage and preparing additional shipments of urgently needed supplies. The organization is also planning to deploy additional staff to Haiti in the coming days.
“There are reports of significant damage to buildings, to homes, to infrastructure including healthcare facilities. We really are concerned there are tremendous needs," said Brian Scheel, who leads disaster relief efforts for Americares.
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Fairfield-based Save the Children is also responding to the disaster.
“We see a lot of devastation. A lot of destruction of infrastructure, homes, schools bridges and roads and that is obviously a huge concern in terms of can we get access in and supplies," said Janti Soeripto, CEO of Save the Children.
They have a team on the ground.
“Right now, we are using our emergency stocks of tarps, jerry cans and baby care kits to provide immediate assistance to 250 affected families. We are preparing to provide cash transfers, child protection, education spaces, health and nutrition assistance, and psychosocial support in the days and weeks ahead," Leila Bourahla, Save the Children’s Haiti country director wrote in a press release.
The Haitian Health Foundation, based in Norwich, is also helping. They have been on the ground in Haiti for decades. Their main health clinic is not far from the epicenter of Saturday's quake.
“There is a lot of fear and I cannot emphasize enough the level of trauma," said Nadesha Mijoba, HHF's country director.
HHF's main clinic is based in Jeremie. Mijoba said the destruction is expansive. She shared a video with us that shows buildings crushed and rubble in the streets.
Thousands have lost their homes to damage or destruction. Mijoba said many people are living outside.
“There are many, many homeless people, a lot of people in desparate situations and this is going to take a little bit of time," said Mijoba.
All 300+ HHF staff members are accounted for, though some did sustain personal injuries or damage to their homes.
“You can sense and feel the emotional fragility of the staff, but they are here responding to the crisis. Responding to the need of others," said Mijoba.
HHF staff are treating the injured, transporting them to care and trying to meet basic needs like access to food and hygiene products.
Mijoba said Jeremie was still recovering from Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
“The situation is critical. It was fragile already to begin with," said Mijoba.
The earthquake greatly impacted the infrastructure, further complicating access to aid.
“The last bridge to cross Jeremie is greatly damaged so that means heavy vehicles cannot cross. The only way to get aid here is either by air or by sea," said Mijoba. "You can imagine just how scared people are relative to food and basic supplies that we just really take for granted.”
All three organizations say the best way that people in Connecticut can help their efforts is by donating. They say they use the funds to buy much needed supplies.
To learn more about the Haitian Health Foundation, click here.
To learn more about Americares, click here.
To learn more about Save the Children, click here.