The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is preparing to deploy CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST) members into Haiti following an official request for co-ordination assistance from Haiti’s Department of Civil Protection through the CDEMA Regional Response Mechanism (RRM). In the first instance, Dr. Virginia Clerveaux, Director of the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies, Turks and Caicos Islands, will be deployed to provide direct support to the Emergency Operations Centre in Haiti.
This follows the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that took place in Haiti at approximately 8:29am on Saturday, August 14, 2021, and a number of its aftershocks with the largest recorded at a 5.8 magnitude. This emergency has been compounded by the passage of Tropical Depression Grace which reached Haiti on the evening of Monday, August 16 and continued to affect the country on Tuesday, August 17.
As of Tuesday, August 17, the Civil Protection Department reported upward of 1,400 fatalities, 7,000 injuries, 38,000 destroyed houses and 46,000 damaged houses. The most severe impact of this multi-hazard event is being felt in the three (3) southern departments of Sud, Grand’Anse and Nippes.
In a press briefing on Monday afternoon, CDEMA Executive Director, Elizabeth Riley, stated: “In the aftermath of the event, we have activated our Regional Co-ordination Centre, and co-ordination for the provision of support to Haiti has commenced in collaboration with Jamaica, which is the lead for our North-Western Subregion of the CDEMA System.”
With respect to the deployment of the COST, she said “We are making the necessary arrangements to get those human resources on the ground as soon as possible following the passage of Tropical Storm, now Tropical Depression Grace”.
Riley indicated that CDEMA had confirmation of financial support from the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office to ensure that CDEMA is able to deliver such critical surge support to Haiti.
The Government of the Republic of Haiti has prepared a needs list of humanitarian items, which are available for purchase in the country since Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, is still operational and commerce is still occurring within the country. The Government of the Republic of Haiti is currently encouraging cash donations and CDEMA will assist in creating bank accounts to facilitate cash donations for the emergency response efforts into Haiti.