Regional Hospitals Overwhelmed Following Haiti Earthquake

People remove debris at the Le Manguier Hotel at Les Cayes, Haiti
People remove debris at the Le Manguier Hotel at Les Cayes, Haiti

The search for survivors of Haiti's devastating earthquake continued Monday, as hospitals were overwhelmed with injured people.

Hundreds of people waited on the steps of Les Cayes' general hospital, and many patients were being treated on mattresses on the ground outside as the hospital ran low on pain pills and other drugs.

Haitian authorities said Monday that the death toll from Saturday's 7.2-magnitude earthquake had climbed to 1,419 — nearly 200 more than a previous figure released Sunday.

At least 6,000 more were injured and seeking treatment, before Tropical Depression Grace makes landfall on the island, possibly bringing heavy rain and flooding and increasing the risk of landslides. A tropical storm watch has been issued for the entire coast of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

People remove debris at the Le Manguier Hotel at Les Cayes, Haitivoa

The quake was centered near the town of Petit-Trou-de-Nippes, about 125 kilometers west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 10 kilometers, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake, which damaged houses, roads and bridges on the country's southwest peninsula, displaced thousands of people. The streets of towns near the epicenter were lined with concrete as rescue workers and scrap metal salvagers dug through the rubble.

"We must work together to provide rapid and effective responses to this extremely serious situation," Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry said Sunday. He had flown to Les Cayes on Saturday to survey the damage.

Many residents of Les Cayes, the country's third-largest city with a population of 90,000, stayed outdoors overnight, as aftershocks continued to rock the area through Sunday.

The U.S. Geological Survey said on Saturday that the earthquake increased the risk of landslides in the area, which is a major concern as Tropical Depression Grace, downgraded from a tropical storm on Sunday, bears down on the island of Hispaniola.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center forecast the storm is likely to reach Hispaniola by Monday and will drop from 10 to 20 centimeters of rain in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the western and eastern sides of the island, respectively.

The heavy rain could trigger landslides, hampering search and rescue efforts and preventing aid from reaching affected areas.

The Dominican Republic and Mexico were among the countries that sent food and medicine to Haiti. Cuba dispatched a 235-member health care team.

Just over a month ago, the country was left reeling after President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in his home July 7. His wife, Martine Moise, was injured in the attack. (VOA/RN)

Keywords: Haiti, earthquake, tropical storm