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Haiti Death Toll Hits 150,000

Liz De La Torre

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With the recent calamity that has befallen Haiti, the magnitude-7.0 earthquake did not just shock the Caribbean country on Jan. 12 but left the world with a haunting ambience of poverty, suffering, death, and a struggle to move forward. “You see people come here and they are at death’s door. More help is needed,” says Dr. Nancy Fleurancois, who works at one of the hospitals in the city of Jacmel.

A woman prays during the memorial service for the Haiti's earthquake victims that were dumped in a mass grave in Titanyen, outside Port-au-Prince, Monday, Feb. 1, 2010. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12, killing and injuring thousands. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Currently, the death toll in Haiti has risen above 150,000 with another 20,000 homeless in Jacmel, a city located in the south. Unaccounted for are those buried under all the debris, but is said to estimate an extra 200,000 fatalities. With the overwhelming need for food and water, some survivors have turned to looting demolished stores and resorting to violence in areas such as Cite Soleil.

While the general public as well as celebrities have graciously donated to the cause in Haiti, trying to rebuild and restore the country has become a difficult effort. As of now, relief workers in already ravaged hospitals are faced with meager sanitation, low food and water supplies, a shortage of medicine and surgical materials, coupled with a lack of physical therapy equipment. Dr. Laura Asher, a volunteer, says that the inadequate conditions have made her desperately seek aid with agencies, “It’s a constant need, a constant need. Every day we go out and beg.” Although 500 people a day have been treated, the high population in shelters has led to an increase in demand and immediacy in attention. But because of the ruined roads and the small, overcrowded airport in Haiti, the distribution of supplies has been slow. In fact, with infection and disease more likely with untreated injuries, the hit that the healthcare system has taken may fuel a horrific upsurge in the death toll. As Haiti continues to rebuild beyond its unimaginable devastation, there is still hope that those afflicted by this disaster will find the care, peace, and strength needed to progress. If any time were as vital to come together as nations, the time is now. As Haitian rapper, Wyclef Jean, said, “Idle hands will make this tragedy worse. We must act now.”

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
Haiti Death Toll Hits 150,000