Haiti’s death toll has reached 2,207, with 344 people still unaccounted for following last weekend’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Tropical Storm Grace also reached the island Tuesday during search and rescue efforts.
According to the Associated Press, Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency reported the numbers on Sunday and also stated that 12,268 people were injured and nearly 53,000 houses were destroyed.
The new toll comes at a time when relief operations are expanding — the U.S.-based aid agency Samaritan’s Purse opened a field hospital Saturday — but authorities are struggling with security at distribution points. Gangs have hijacked aid trucks and desperate crowds have scuffled over bags of food.
In the hard-hit city of Les Cayes, meanwhile, some attended outdoor church services on Sunday because sanctuaries had been badly damaged by the quake, which was centered on the impoverished nation’s southwestern peninsula.
Medical aid and food deliveries have been slow reaching the earthquake’s epicenter because of damage to a major highway, landslides and a torrential downpour from Grace.
Reuters reports that tensions bubbled over during the weekend, beginning with residents attacking food trucks in several towns.
A confrontation also erupted after former President Michel Martelly visited a hospital in the city of Les Cayes, where one of his staff left behind an envelope of money that set off a violent scramble.
Another food delivery was cut short on Saturday afternoon at a church near Les Cayes’ airport after a frustrated crowd turned hostile, prompting aid workers to abort the operation.
We are concerned about the deteriorating security situation that may disrupt our assistance to vulnerable Haitians,” said Pierre Honnorat, head of the U.N. World Food Program in Haiti. [end block quote]
As Haiti has been undergoing this traumatic time, many in the international community have been looking for ways to help. According to NBC News, Haitian-based organizations like Fonkoze, HaitiOne, the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, the What If Foundation and the Health Equity International at St. Boniface Hospital are all accepting donations.
Check out these FTC recommendations for properly researching charity organizations before donating.