Tropical Storm Grace Lashes Earthquake-Stricken Haiti With Heavy Rain and Winds

Haitian firefighters search for survivors, under the rubble of a destroyed hotel, after Saturday’s 7.2 magnitude quake, in Les Cayes, Haiti August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo

Tropical Storm Grace has lashed southern Haiti with drenching rains, piling on misery for survivors of a powerful earthquake as flash floods and landslides further complicate relief efforts.

Power was still out and communications spotty on Tuesday morning in parts of southern Haiti after inches of heavy rain and 35mph winds bore down on the embattled region, just two days after it was hit by the devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

Rainwater turned the streets of Haiti’s quake-struck Tiburon peninsula to rivers within a few minutes of tropical storm Grace making landfall on the island of Hispaniola, which Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic. Rain fell at a rate of 50mm (2in) an hour across much of the region.

As rain began to pelt down on Monday night, the confirmed death toll from Saturday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake rose to 1,419, with more than 6,000 injured and 30,000 people left homeless. Rescue workers continue to search rubble for survivors.

Hospitals, already full, are treating patients in patios and corridors. Medical supplies including personal protective equipment for staff and painkillers and splints for patients remain scarce.

“The hospital is in a bad place with water filling the yard,” said Sterens Yppolyte, a 26-year-old trainee doctor at Les Cayes’ Immaculate Conception hospital, who has been unable to get much sleep since his home was partially destroyed by the earthquake. “People are crying for help, for tents, for shelter and for a message of hope.”

Marjorie Modesty, a psychologist living in Les Cayes who helping coordinate aid deliveries through a family-support organisation she runs, voiced similar despair.

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SOURCE: The Guardian, Joe Parkin Daniels