Venezuela Delivers Immediate Aid to Haiti After Deadly Earthquake

Haiti is desperate for assistance but authorities want to avoid the botched international response after the 2010 earthquake which caused more pain.

By José Luis Granados Ceja

Mexico City, Mexico, August 18, 2021 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela delivered 30 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the people of Haiti on Sunday after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean country on Saturday and left nearly 2,000 people dead.

The supplies and non-perishable food and medicines from Venezuela were dispatched on the instructions of President Nicolás Maduro and arrived via jet to the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

Vice Minister of Risk Management and Civil Protection Eduardo Hurtado personally delivered the supplies to the Venezuelan Ambassador to Haiti Orlando Maneiro Gaspar and Haiti’s Director for Civil Protection Jerry Shendall, as per the government’s request.

“This aid means a lot to the people of Haiti,” said Shendall.

Haitian Civil Protection said Tuesday that the quake had injured at least 9,915. With many people still reported missing, they added that they expected the death toll to rise.

The country is desperate for more assistance as it grapples with the fallout of the assasination of President Jovenel Moise and the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Grace, which dumped heavy rains on Tuesday. However, authorities are keen to avoid the mistakes made during relief efforts after the 2010 earthquake that left hundreds of thousands dead, where a botched response only caused more suffering for the people of Haiti, including sexual abuses and a cholera outbreak.

Various Latin American countries, including Venezuela and Mexico, have sent aid to the country. A 250-strong Cuban medical brigade likewise arrived immediately on the scene. The United States sent aid and equipment, meanwhile US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) established a task force to “conduct U.S. military operations in support of the USAID-led foreign disaster assistance mission.”

US officials, who had previously been pushing for Haitian elections to be held this year, appeared to soften their stance with Jake Sullivan, White House national security advisor, saying it was “too early to tell” if elections scheduled for later this year would proceed. Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry said Sunday they did not have an election calendar.

Venezuelan Vice-President for Citizen Security Carmen Meléndez said her country was looking into sending further aid shipments in the coming days. A team from Venezuela's Simón Bolívar Humanitarian Task Force has also been dispatched to Haiti to assist with rescue and recovery efforts.

Edited by Ricardo Vaz from Mérida.

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