On Saturday, August 14, 2021, around 8:30 a.m., an earthquake measuring 7.2 magnitude struck southern areas of Haiti, including Les Cayes, Jeremie, Saint Louis de Sud, Aquin, Petit Trou de Nippes, Anse-a-Veau, and Cavaillon; it was followed by several aftershocks. Vibrations could be felt as far as Jamaica, about 200 miles (320 km) away.
Local news outlets reported that the sea in Jeremie receded, which might have indicated a tsunami, but warnings were rescinded later.
Local authorities have declared a state of emergency for one month, seeking the assistance of humanitarian aid. Hospitals in Haiti nearest the affected regions are reportedly over capacity. According to local reports, as of August 15, the death toll has risen to more than 1,300, with at least 5,700 people injured.
Residents of the affected towns have been trying to locate family and friends missing or feared dead. Search parties have been digging for people hidden under the rubble.
“The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) was one of the first aid relief organizations to reach the affected area of Saint-Louis de Sud in Haiti,” Elian Giaccarini, ADRA’s emergency management coordinator for the Caribbean, said. “From our assessments, the main concern is to care for the injured. At this moment, evaluations of the damages are being carried out. One of the main challenges is the extreme complexity of gang blocks that do not allow easy access to affected areas. We are also concerned about the pending storm Grace and the already delicate situation in Haiti due to violence and the massive displacement of populations. The situation is extremely complex,” he reported.
ADRA has been operating in Haiti for more than 30 years, providing support for nutrition, agriculture, water, and primary education programs in the north and northeast central parts of Haiti, targeting more than a million people.
This is the second time a major earthquake has struck Haiti in a decade. In 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake killed as many as 200,000 people.
More information will be provided as this story develops.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.