Five days after the earthquake that devastated southwestern Haiti and left more than 2,000 dead, authorities face the challenge of safely delivering humanitarian aid to the hundreds of thousands of victims, some of whom live in isolated areas.
According to the Haitian civil protection services, the balance of the earthquake on Wednesday night was 2,189 dead, 332 missing and more than 12,000 injured.
“The rescue operations are continuing,” the agency said on Twitter.
Chaos continues to reign in the southwest of the country and the victims also have to cope with the rainfall caused by Hurricane Grace.
The United States chartered eight army helicopters from Honduras to continue evacuations for medical reasons. Furthermore, the “USS Arlington” is about to arrive in Haiti with a medical team on board.
“We have around 600,000 people directly affected and in need of immediate humanitarian aid,” said Jerry Chandler, Haiti’s director of civil protection, from the National Emergency Operations Center in Port-au-Prince.
“We had to find means to guarantee safety, which is still a great challenge. We know there was a problem at the level of the southern exit of Port-au-Prince, in Martissant, but this problem is apparently solved since we have been able to pass in both last days, “he explained.
Since the beginning of June, safe traffic has been impossible on two kilometers of the national highway that runs through Martissant, a poor neighborhood in the Haitian capital ravaged by clashes between gangs.
After the earthquake, sporadic shooting and random attacks on vehicles ceased, without any police operation being carried out to regain control of the neighborhood, according to authorities.
While this tacit truce respected by the armed gangs is a relief for humanitarian services, the distribution of aid to the victims is still difficult.
“We are faced with somewhat frustrated and impatient populations causing problems and precisely blocking convoys,” said Jerry Chandler.
“The idea is to be able to get there as quickly as possible and serve as many people as possible,” he added.