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Haiti Hit by 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Western Haiti on August 14, 2021, causing over 300 casualties. Here, a group of Haitian people dig through rubble.

Photo by CARE

Photo by CARE


On the morning of August 14, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti, hitting the greater southern part of the island. As of August 25, the official reported death toll has risen to more than 2,200 people.

About the Haiti Earthquake

Only two days after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti, the island was hit by Tropical Depression Grace on August 16, disrupting humanitarian efforts and raising concerns about landslides and flooding.

The greatest human and material losses are reported in the areas of Grande Anse, South, and Nippes. CARE has ongoing programming in Grande Anse, where all CARE operational districts have been affected, most severely in the Jeremie and Beaumont areas.

The UN System in Haiti estimates 650,000 people are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance as a result of the earthquake, a concerning figure considering that 634,000 people across the three most affected departments (Grand’Anse, Nippes, and Sud) already needed multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance before the earthquake. More than 12,000 people have been injured, and hundreds are still missing. These figures continue to rise.

The already limited health system is increasingly more strained. Many survivors now find themselves homeless, without access to safe water and sanitation, and at greater risk of violence and abuse, including gender-based violence (GBV).

More than 52,000 homes in Le Cayes, Roseau, Jeremie, Beaumont, and Nippes have been completely destroyed, and more than 77,000 have been severely damaged. Roads, schools, clinics, and other public infrastructure have also sustained heavy damage.

In some remote areas, families are constructing makeshift shelters out of salvaged materials built directly on the ground without any kind of foundation or platform, making them vulnerable to collapse due to high winds and increased rainfall.

While the response to urgent shelter needs is a key priority, the Government is determined to avoid the establishment of large-scale camps for internally displaced people (IDP) with a view to mitigate the health risks associated with placing tens of thousands of people in close quarters amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Government is pushing for a localized response that is at the same time equitable across all the affected areas.

Heightened insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic have kept around 4 million children out of school for months over the last two years, with the quake damaging hundreds of school buildings, affecting an estimated 100,000 children and teachers. Safe temporary learning spaces are urgently needed to ensure affected boys and girls can continue their education and to mitigate the risks associated with children being out of school.



are estimated to have died in the earthquake and tropical depression

*As of August 25

Haiti Earthquake Relief Efforts – What CARE is Doing

CARE is among the first organizations to conduct needs assessments in Grande Anse that will inform our response strategy, building on our on ongoing recovery and development programs. CARE staff are all accounted for, and our emergency response team is coordinating an initial rapid assessment of damages and community needs.

CARE Haiti has reached more than 119,000 people with shelter, food security and nutrition, and water, sanitation, and hygiene, as well as through awareness campaigns on GBV and protection. The most urgent needs are for tents and other shelter, food, water, hygiene kits, cash and voucher assistance, and safe spaces for women and girls. CARE staff are continuing to assess the developing crisis, while moving much-needed supplies from Port au Prince to Jeremie.

Statement from CARE Haiti Country Director

“So far, our teams in and around Jeremie – which was badly hit by the quake – have found that at least 469 homes were destroyed and over 1,000 people are in need of tents or some form of temporary shelter. We are continuing to carry out assessments and have begun distributing core relief items, but many of the areas affected are logistically very challenging to reach so we are not likely to know the full impact of earthquake for days to come as teams access these remote areas. Even here Port au Prince we continue to experience aftershocks.

Already as of June we have been forced to deliver aid supplies to the area by boat or plane due to increased insecurity on the roads. The earthquake has added to this by damaging many of the access roads with landslides. It has hit communities that were already suffering from high levels of malnutrition and hunger, and this is going to make a bad situation worse.

On top of this we also have a tropical depression headed towards the island, which may cause further damage and make recovery efforts even more challenging. Now more than ever international assistance and aid is needed to support the people of Haiti.

We know from past experience both in Haiti and other emergencies that women and girls are often the worst affected by these types of natural disasters, facing compounding stresses and higher threats of violence. CARE will be undertaking an assessment of the specific needs of women and girls and making sure it takes their specific concerns and voices into account in the response we mount.”

— Lora Wuennenberg, CARE Haiti Interim Country Director

*Last updated September 29, 2021