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Haiti: Earthquake death toll tops 2,000, aid delivery complicated

Haiti: Earthquake death toll tops 2,000, aid delivery complicated

Five days after the earthquake that devastated southwestern Haiti, the challenge is to safely deliver humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of victims. The provisional death toll rose to 2,189 on Thursday.

The provisional death toll in Haiti exceeds 2,000 on Thursday, after the earthquake that devastated the southwest of the country. According to the Haitian Civil Protection, at least 2,189 people are dead, 332 are missing and more than 12,000 have been injured. "Rescue operations are continuing," it said on Twitter.

The southwestern part of the country is in chaos as earthquake survivors face the added challenge of severe weather triggered by Hurricane Grace.

The United States has chartered eight military helicopters from Honduras to continue medical evacuation efforts. The USS Arlington, a U.S. Navy transport ship, was scheduled to arrive in Haiti Wednesday with a surgical team on board.

"We have about 600,000 people directly affected and in need of immediate humanitarian assistance," said Jerry Chandler, director of the Haitian Civil Defense. "We had to find ways to ensure security, which remains a big challenge. We know that there was a problem at the southern exit of Port-au-Prince, in Martissant, but this problem is apparently solved because we have been able to pass for the past two days, "he said.

Since the beginning of June, all safe traffic was impossible on two kilometers of the national road that crosses the area of Martissant, a poor neighborhood of the Haitian capital, ravaged by gangs clashes.

Following the earthquake that devastated the country, sporadic shootings and random vehicle attacks have ceased, according to authorities, without any police operation to regain control of the neighborhood. If this informal truce observed by the armed gangs is a relief for humanitarian actors, the distribution of aid to earthquake victims remains complicated.

"It has happened that we are confronted with frustrated and impatient people who cause problems and block the convoys," said Jerry Chandler, adding that "the idea is to be able to arrive as quickly as possible and to serve as many people as possible.

More than 200 kilometers away, in the small town of Maniche, residents are hoping to receive much-needed support after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

"All the institutions that we had in the town are in ruins: we no longer have a church, the parish hall, the dispensary are completely collapsed ... ", lists with desolation Rose Hurguelle Point du Jour.Geordany Bellevue shares this dismay and is especially concerned for the landlocked areas of his town.

"Many landslides have occurred in the mountains killing and injuring many people. Some are missing and we do not have the capacity to go and find them on the summits," explains the 32-year-old.

"It's already complicated to receive aid here in downtown Maniche so when it happens, it never reaches the evacuees in the remote areas," he laments, recalling the management of humanitarian aid after Hurricane Matthew hit the region in October 2016.

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