Haiti – Earthquake Fact Sheet #5, August 20, FY2021

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August 20, 2021 

Numbers At A Glance


Earthquake-related Deaths Reported in Haiti


Estimated Number of Earthquake-related Injuries in Haiti


Estimated Number of Houses Damaged or Destroyed

2.2 million

People Exposed to Strong—MMI Level VI—or Above Shaking


At least 600,000 people in southwestern Haiti require humanitarian assistance as a result of the August 14 earthquake, according to the GoH.

USAID DART and USAR members continue to assess damages and provide assistance in Grand’Anse, Nippes, and Sud, visiting four communes on August 19.

USAID/BHA partner WFP delivers several MT of food assistance by air to Jérémie and by road to Les Cayes on August 19.

Humanitarian Needs Increase in Southwestern Haiti as Response Efforts Continue

The earthquake that struck southwestern Haiti on August 14 had resulted in at least 2,189 deaths and injured more than 12,260 people in the country, while hundreds of individuals remained missing as of August 18, according to the Government of Haiti (GoH). Assessments in Grand’Anse, Nippes, and Sud departments—the most heavily affected areas—continue to highlight significant humanitarian needs in affected communities, with at least 600,000 individuals in need of assistance, according to the GoH. Meanwhile, humanitarian actors—including USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/BHA) partners—continue to mobilize assistance by air, land, and sea, ensuring humanitarian commodities and services reach those in need.

The GoH Civil Protection General Directorate (DGPC) has identified food, health, shelter, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) assistance as priority needs in affected areas, while USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) personnel also note critical logistics and protection needs. In Grand’Anse’s Pestel commune, nearly 1,800 water tanks—crucial for safe drinking water and other uses—were either damaged or destroyed as a result of the earthquake, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), underscoring urgent WASH needs among affected populations. A functional water treatment plant is available in Sud’s Les Cayes commune, indicating at least limited capacity to source safe drinking water in Sud, according to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), which is providing coordination support to the GoH National Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Earthquake Damages, Destroys 36 Health Facilities

Rapid assessments indicate that the earthquake damaged or destroyed 36 health facilities in Grand’Anse, Nippes, and Sud, exacerbating health care needs among affected communities, according to PAHO. Two health facilities were destroyed in both Grand’Anse and Nippes, where three and seven additional facilities were damaged, respectively. Though no health facilities were destroyed in Sud, 22 of the 26 facilities assessed—nearly 85 percent—were damaged or severely damaged. However, assessments teams had only reached 10 of Sud’s 18 communes as of August 18, suggesting that other facilities in the area could also require urgent repairs. Damaged facilities require tents or tarps to become operational, and departmental health authorities are working to conduct the needed repairs.

DART USAR Personnel Continue to Assess Damage and Provide Assistance With JTF-Haiti Aerial Transport

Six days following the earthquake, urban search-and-rescue (USAR) operations and related assessments of structures and infrastructure remain ongoing in Grand’Anse, Nippes, and Sud, including by members of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department USAR team deployed to Haiti with the DART. On August 19, with aerial transport from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Task Force (JTF)-Haiti, DART USAR members conducted damage assessments in Grand’Anse’s Corail and Pestel communes. In Corail, the team visited the local EOC and provided medical supplies to a local hospital, where a USAR team member provided health care services to a patient in need. Displaced individuals were sheltering at 16 sites in the commune, and the EOC highlighted unmet food, shelter, and WASH needs. On Pestel’s Grande Cayemite Island, the USAR team met with local officials in Anse a Macon town who reported that a water cistern collapsed during the earthquake. Safe drinking water is urgently required in the town, alongside food and shelter assistance, as the earthquake damaged or destroyed nearly 460 houses in the area, local officials report. The officials also noted that the DART personnel were the first assessment team to visit the island since the earthquake.

A second group from the deployed USAR team—also transported by JTF-Haiti aerial support—visited Nippes’s Petit-Trou-de-Nippes commune and Sud’s Saint-Louis-du-Sud commune on August 19. In Petite-Trou-de-Nippes, the USAR team noted that local populations rely on water trucking services and required additional supplies of safe drinking water, while staff at a local clinic reported that individuals injured during the earthquake had received treatment locally or were transferred to Les Cayes for treatment. In addition to the August 14 earthquake, Saint-Louis-du-Sud has experienced three significant aftershocks, prompting many residents to sleep outdoors or in cars to avoid potential tremor-related hazards in buildings. Local officials reported shelter support needs among residents, and the USAR team noted that a local health facility required a restock of medical supplies.

USAID/BHA Partner WFP Delivers Food to Jérémie and Les Cayes

In response to food security needs among earthquake-affected populations, the UN World Food Program (WFP) transported several metric tons (MT) of USAID/BHA-funded emergency food assistance to Grand’Anse’s Jérémie commune and Les Cayes on August 19. The USAID/BHA partner plans to distribute the food to affected populations in the coming days. WFP transported the food from Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince to Les Cayes by road, but relied on air transport to reach Jérémie due to damaged roads in the commune, including the main bridge leading to Jérémie city. USAID/BHA continues to coordinate with WFP to ensure the timely transport and distribution of the additional 100 MT of USAID/BHA-funded contingency food stocks released to the UN agency on August 18.


Following the earthquake, the GoH requested international assistance for USAR support. A USAR team from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, including 65 search-and-rescue personnel and four canines, subsequently deployed alongside DART members, arriving in Haiti on August 15. The USAR team traveled with 52,000 pounds of specialized tools and medical equipment. Additional USAR supplies arrived in Haiti on August 17.

USAID/BHA USAR teams consist of 19 functional positions, staffed by experienced emergency managers, construction riggers, hazardous materials technicians, licensed engineers and emergency medicine physicians, logisticians, paramedics, planners, search-and-rescue specialists, and search-and-rescue dogs with handlers. USAR teams perform life-saving technical activities, including specialized search-and-rescue operations to recover individuals trapped in damaged or destroyed buildings.

Sites reached or assessed by DART USAR experts include Grand’Anse’s Corail, Jérémie, and Pestel communes; Nippes’s Petit-Trou-de-Nippes commune; and Sud’s Camp-Perrin, Les Cayes, Maniche, and Saint-Louis-du-Sud communes as of August 19. USAR activities in other affected areas remain ongoing.

On August 14, the GoH declared a one-month state of emergency in Haiti due to the earthquake and activated DGPC personnel, mobilizing search-and-rescue brigades to earthquake-affected areas. The GoH also activated the National EOC to coordinate assessment and response activities. Several governments across the Latin America and Caribbean region—including the governments of Colombia and Mexico—mobilized personnel and supplies to support USAR operations. In addition, on August 17, ISAR Germany and BRH Bundesverband Rettungshunde deployed a five-member team—including experts in disaster assistance, field medicine, and USAR—to Haiti to support and advise GoH authorities. On August 20, 39 additional doctors and volunteers from ISAR Germany arrived in Haiti.

On August 16, two U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) helicopters deployed to Haiti and began transporting DART and USAR personnel to assist assessment and response activities. In addition, USAID requested the unique capabilities of DoD’s U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) to support USAID’s response efforts with air transport of relief staff and USAR team members within Haiti, as well as assessment efforts in earthquake-affected areas. USSOUTHCOM deployed eight helicopters, including three UH-60 Black Hawks, three CH-47 Chinooks, and two HH-60 Pave Hawks. USSOUTHCOM is also providing aerial imagery to support damage assessments.

In addition, USAID/BHA is supporting a WFP barge service to facilitate additional humanitarian transport between Port-au-Prince and coastal areas of Grand’Anse and Nippes. Separately, the UN Humanitarian Air Service has an aircraft available to assist with response efforts. On August 14, in response to a GoH request, the Government of the Dominican Republic (GoDR) provided a fixed-wing aircraft and two helicopters to provide logistical and transportation support, including medical evacuations.

USAID/BHA is providing logistics support in heavily-affected communities in Grand’Anse, Nippes, and Sud. In addition, five members of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department have deployed as part of the Americas Support Team (AST) to provide technical support to UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) personnel, assisting with humanitarian coordination, information management, and assessment (HCIMA) efforts. The AST is a module supported through USAID/BHA to assist with disaster response operations and coordination efforts between the UN, local emergency management agencies, and other relief actors, including donor governments and non-governmental organizations. As of August 18, the AST is supporting a 10-member UNDAC team in facilitating coordination and information management in concert with the GoH DGPC and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The UNDAC team is deploying one staff member at the national level and three personnel each in Grand’Anse, Nippes, and Sud.

In addition, CDEMA activated its Regional Response Mechanism and is deploying a Caribbean Community Operational Support Team to provide coordination and operational support to the GoH.

On August 17, USAID/BHA partner the International Organization for Migration (IOM) distributed 2,000 hygiene kits, 2,000 jerry cans, and 600 shelter repair kits to affected populations in Les Cayes and across Nippes. USAID/BHA funds IOM to maintain pre-positioned emergency relief supplies in Haiti for distribution in response to sudden-onset disasters such as earthquakes and other shocks.

On August 19, a USAID/BHA-funded Global WASH Cluster Field Support Team Coordinator arrived in Haiti to support coordination of the WASH response to the earthquake through national-level platforms.

Regional governments are mobilizing shipments of relief commodities to support response efforts in Haiti. On August 16, the Government of Chile (GoC) dispatched a flight to Haiti carrying 16 MT of food commodities and medical and WASH supplies. The GoC is also engaging the governments of Costa Rica and Panama to provide air transport for additional commodities. Additionally, the Government of Mexico dispatched two military aircraft carrying 60 personnel with specialized USAR and medical skills, in addition to approximately 20 MT of relief commodities, including medicines and medical supplies, food assistance, and USAR equipment. Furthermore, the Government of Colombia sent two aircraft carrying USAR personnel and food and relief commodities, such as WASH items and tents.

UN Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths allocated $8 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund on August 15 to support the provision of relief items and health care services, safe drinking water, shelter items, and WASH assistance to affected households. The European Commission's Department for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations and the Government of the Republic of Korea have also announced nearly $3.5 and $1 million in emergency funding, respectively, to help address immediate needs.

On August 15, the USCG deployed two helicopters with medical staff and supplies to Haiti. Alongside supporting USAR and logistics efforts, the helicopters also transported injured patients from affected areas to Port-au-Prince. As of August 19, the USCG had flown nearly 140 sorties, performed medical evacuations for more than 290 people, and transported more than 230 medical and USAR staff—including members of the DART—to affected areas.

The GoH Ministry of Public Health and Population activated an emergency health crisis cell to coordinate information on needs and response efforts with health partners, according to the UN. As of August 16, the GoH had deployed engineers to assess structural damage at health facilities and deployed 15 trucks carrying medical supplies to earthquake-affected areas. In addition, specialized medical personnel deployed with supplies to treat trauma and orthopedic needs among earthquake-affected populations. As of August 18, GoH medical teams had treated more than 1,700 injured people in Grand’Anse, Nippes, and Sud, as well as facilitated the transfer of at least 12 individuals to health facilities in Ouest Department for treatment.

The PAHO country office in Haiti has activated its emergency plan, while PAHO and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) declared an emergency for Haiti and neighboring Dominican Republic for the duration of 2021. PAHO and WHO are coordinating with the GoH DGPC, local authorities and health officials, and other UN agencies. In addition, the GoDR is delivering medical supplies and non-food items. Meanwhile, the Red Cross and hospitals in unaffected areas are providing surge assistance, while Médecins Sans Frontières has deployed teams to Grand’Anse and Sud.

The DART is coordinating with relief actors to facilitate the distribution of shelter commodities prepositioned in Haiti, including blankets, hygiene kits, kitchen kits, and shelter repair kits to support nearly 50,000 people. USAID/BHA also activated a shelter advisor to support the provision of shelter assistance.

As of August 18, USAID/BHA had released 110 MT of food—including beans, rice, and vegetable oil—from its contingency stock managed by WFP to distribute hot meals to people at hospitals in Jérémie and Les Cayes. WFP will continue to provide daily hot meals to the several thousand people injured by the earthquake during their hospitalization. Moreover, WFP plans to provide ready-to-eat meals to individuals in emergency evacuation shelters, among other interventions. WFP plans to further scale up food assistance operations to reach an additional 62,000 people in affected areas in the coming months, bringing the UN agency’s target caseload in southwestern Haiti to approximately 200,000 people.

The most effective way people can assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. A list of humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for disaster responses around the world can be found at www.interaction.org.

USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, and warehouse space); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietarily, and environmentally appropriate assistance.

More information can be found at:

  • USAID Center for International Disaster Information: www.cidi.org or +1.202.661.7710.
  • Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community can be found at www.reliefweb.int.

Last updated: August 21, 2021

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