A 7.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded in Haiti on August 14, 2021. The USGS estimates that the shaking zone affected more than 2.1 million people. The earthquake caused at least 2,207 deaths, 12,268 injuries, and 129,929 houses damaged or destroyed. Many local hospitals were very quickly overwhelmed.
The earthquake preceded Tropical Storm Grace which generated flooding, heavy rains, and strong winds on August 16 and 17. Recent crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and political instability also impacted earthquake response efforts. The country is still recovering from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the country in 2010, killing over 200,000 people and injuring many others.
In response, Louise Ivers, MD, MPH, MGH Center for Global Health (CGH) Executive Director, arrived in Haiti on August 18 to work with local partners such as Health Equity International’s St. Boniface Hospital (HEI/SBH). HEI/SBH’s response efforts include treating injured survivors, delivering medical supplies to affected clinics and hospitals, and beginning preparation for mobile clinics.
Global Disaster Response and Humanitarian Action (GDRHA) has also dispatched two teams to support HEI/SBH, the first including Lindsey Martin, NP, Director of GDRHA, and Russell Demailly, RN, a MGH operating room nurse, and the second including Mary Foley, CRNA, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, and Kayla Quinn, NP, Orthopaedic Oncology. GDRHA has also supported deployments by Tom Monaghan, a member of MGH Biomedical Engineering, and George Dyer, MD, surgeon in the BWH Department of Orthopedic Surgery.
CGH also continues to support the Ministry of Health’s National Laboratory and Epidemiology Department in their surveillance for disease outbreaks in the region.