Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are less than 72 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign and our independent journalism needs your help today.
If you value our work, please support Common Dreams. This is our hour of need.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Haiti earthquake

Earthquake victims lie on the ground at the Cayes General Hospital on August 14, 2021 in Les Cayes, southwest Haiti. Rescue workers scrambled to find survivors after a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti early Saturday, killing hundreds and toppling buildings in the disaster-plagued Caribbean nation still recovering from a devastating 2010 quake. (Photo: Stanley Louis / AFP via Getty Images)

Over 700 Dead From Earthquake as Powerful Storm Heads Toward Haiti

"When it comes to medical needs, this is our biggest urgency," said Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Common Dreams staff

More than 700 people were confirmed dead Sunday and many thousands more injured and left homeless due to the large earthquake which struck Haiti on Saturday.

The Haitian government has declared a state of emergency following the 7.2 quake and the Office of Civil Protection put the official death toll Sunday afternoon at 724 individuals with approximately 2,800 injured—though both numbers are almost certain to rise.

According to the Guardian:

Aftershocks were felt throughout the day and through the night. Many people left homeless or frightened that their fractured homes would collapse stayed in the streets to sleep – if their nerves allowed.

In the badly damaged coastal town of Les Cayes, some families salvaged their few belongings and spent the night at an open-air football pitch. On Sunday morning, people lined up to buy what little was available: bananas, avocados and water at a local street market.

The prime minister, Ariel Henry, said he was rushing aid to areas where towns were destroyed and hospitals overwhelmed with patients.

As the search for survivors continued on Sunday, fears grew that Tropical Storm Grace—currently on a path towards Haiti—could hamper rescue and recovery efforts in the coming days.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry, recently appointed following last month's assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, has ordered an assessment of the damage but said he will not be requesting official international assistance until the full scope of the disaster is understood.

"When it comes to medical needs, this is our biggest urgency," Henry said Sunday. "We have started to send medications and medical personnel to the facilities that are affected. For the people who need urgent special care, we have evacuated a certain number of them, and we will evacuate some more today and tomorrow."

Amid the devastation, many expressed caution over any misguided foreign interventions and interference—notably from the U.S., which has a long history of putting its own strategic interests above those of the Haitian people.

And as the Washington Post noted in its reporting:

As foreign charities, nongovernmental organizations and volunteer groups dispatched people, supplies and equipment to Haiti, Haitan authorities reiterated their insistence that all aid be channeled and cleared through them. Edmond said the government wants to avoid a repeat of massive amounts spent—and misspent—in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. 

Speaking to reporters in the capital of Port-au-Prince, Prime Minister said, “All aid must be coordinated through the Civil Protection to prevent the errors of 2010."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins ·


Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·


Critics Say Biden Drilling Bonanza 'Won't Lower Gas Prices' But 'Will Worsen Climate Crisis'

"President Biden's massive public lands giveaway in the face of utter climate catastrophe is just the latest sign that his climate commitments are mere rhetoric," said one campaigner.

Kenny Stancil ·


Grave Warnings as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Threatens 'Future of Voting Rights'

"Buckle up," implores one prominent legal scholar. "An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great threats to elections."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Urged to Take Emergency Action After 'Disastrous' Climate Ruling by Supreme Court

"The catastrophic impact of this decision cannot be understated," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, but "we cannot accept defeat."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo