haiti earthquake aid
Members of a rescue and protection team clean debris from a house Aug. 15 in Les Cayes, Haiti, following a magnitude 7.2 earthquake the previous day. (CNS/Reuters/Ralph Tedy Erol)

Haiti’s National Emergency Operations Center, known by its French acronym COUN, announced Friday that it has ended the search-and-rescue mission in the southern regions severely affected by the Aug. 14 earthquake.

Dr. Jerry Chandler, technical director of COUN, made the official declaration during a working meeting with representatives of various sectors involved in managing the earthquake response.

“We will publish the final report on the basis of the data collected, processed and analyzed with the support of OCHA,” said Chandler, referring to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 

In disaster management, ending a search-and-rescue phase typically means emergency responders are no longer focused on finding people who may still be alive and providing life-saving treatments. The end of the phase signals a shift to recovery resources.

In-depth assessments of each sector are now underway and will be carried out gradually with the support of partners such as OCHA. The post-disaster needs assessment, part of the recovery phase, will be led by the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation, Chandler said.

More than 2,200 people have died in the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that occurred along Haiti’s southwest, according to the Civil Protection agency. More than 12,268 were injured and 300 reported missing. About 53,000 structures were destroyed and 77,000 damaged.

The natural disaster took place along the same fault line as the devastating 7.0 magnitude quake that hit Port-au-Prince 11 years ago, killing about 250,000 people. 

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