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CAVAILLON, Haiti -Foreign food aid slowly trickled into more rural areas of southwestern Haiti on Thursday, arriving days after a major earthquake that killed at least 2,189 people and reduced tens of thousands of buildings to rubble.
Hundreds of people lined up to receive provisions from the U.N. World Food Programme at a camp in the rural town of Camp-Perrin for people displaced by Saturday's 7.2 magnitude quake.
A mudslide caused by two nights of heavy rain earlier this week had partly blocked the main road leading to the area. Any more rain could make it impassable, locals said. People were sleeping out in a field under trees.
"No one is coming to help us," said Montette Joseph, a 33-year-old with four children who had traveled two hours in a pickup truck to reach the distribution site. The price of small bags of drinking water had tripled since the quake, she lamented.
"I am looking for assistance so I can rebuild my home and take care of my children. We are living a tragedy."
Many Haitians have complained about the sluggish arrival of aid, while fresh tremors are adding to anxiety.
In the coastal city of Les Cayes, one of the areas worst hit by the quake, residents were jolted from their beds by a fresh aftershock overnight.
There were no immediate reports of damage, a police officer said. Families slept on mattresses on the streets across the city, nervous about the state of buildings.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas, and is still recovering from a 2010 quake https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitians-quake-reawakens-trauma-disaster-decade-ago-2021-08-15 that killed over 200,000.
The latest disaster struck just weeks after President Jovenel Moise was assassinated on July 7, plunging the nation of 11 million people deeper into a political crisis https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haiti-one-month-without-assassinated-president-jovenel-moise-2021-08-06 that has worsened its economic woes.
TALLYING THE DEATH
The national civil protection agency said late on Wednesday the death toll stood at 2,189, with 12,200 people injured.
Local officials are still tallying the dead.
In the town of Cavaillon, near Les Cayes, officials huddled over paper where they recorded the number of damaged houses, schools and churches in each of the surrounding villages, along with the number of dead and missing.
"We think there are still bodies in the ruins because we can smell them from underneath the rubble," said Jean Mary Naissant, one of the Cavaillon officials.
According to the tallies for Cavaillon and the small villages around it, there were 53 deaths and more than 2,700 wounded in the area. But there were still 21 people unaccounted for six days after the quake, local officials said.