The death toll from a major earthquake in Haiti on August 14 has risen to 2,207
A statement from the country’s civil protection office said “new bodies have been found in the south”, adding that 344 people were missing and 12,268 were injured. The number previously reported was 2,189.
Search and rescue workers continue to pick up mounds of debris from a powerful 7.2-magnitude quake, but the hopes of survivors have been dashed for hours.
Haitian officials say about 600,000 people have been directly affected by the disaster and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
But efforts to deliver food, water and medical supplies to quake victims have been complicated not only by road and bridge damage, but also by attacks by unknown groups on relief convoys.
“We have a security problem that is getting more and more serious,” said Jerry Chandler, director of the Haitian Civil Protection Agency.
Since early June, a two-kilometer (1.2-mile) highway trip from Port-au-Prince to the southwestern peninsula has been unsafe to travel, amid constant gang violence in one of the capital’s poorest neighborhoods.
“We are literally facing the problem of bandits, and we are working with the police, who are sending reinforcements to the south,” Chandler said.
Some of the worst damage was hard to reach in rural areas, so Haitian authorities have been using UN helicopters and eight US planes to deliver aid.
In Haiti’s third-largest city, Les Keys, the delivery of aid was largely carried out by inexperienced private groups or individuals, and fighting broke out between those waiting for help.
“We don’t want to discourage good strategists, but they urge people to talk to their office so that it can help manage the most efficient delivery of aid to those in need,” Chandler said.
Meanwhile, Brazil joined the rescue effort, sending a military KC-390 cargo plane with a team of 23 firemen and 10 tons of medical and emergency supplies to Haiti.
“Solidarity is a feature of the Brazilian people,” said President Jair Bolsenaro, announcing the flight.
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