Haitian officials are negotiating with gangs in order to get aid into country

·2 min read
A destroyed church in Haiti.
A destroyed church in Haiti. Reginald Louissaint Jr./AFP via Getty Images

Haiti continues to reel from Saturday's devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake, with the country's Civil Protection Agency announcing on Monday that the death toll has increased to 1,419, with more than 6,000 people injured.

At least 7,000 homes were destroyed in the quake and almost 5,000 damaged, leaving 30,000 families homeless, The Associated Press reports. Search and rescue teams are still hoping they will pull survivors alive out of the rubble of collapsed buildings, but they are racing against time, as Tropical Depression Grace could hit Haiti on Monday night, bringing with it heavy rains that could trigger flash flooding and mudslides; some areas are expecting to see 15 inches of rainfall.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and residents are waiting in line for hours to get money that has been wired from friends and relatives abroad. Humanitarian agencies are attempting to get much-needed food, water, and medical supplies into the country, and the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Monday that local officials are negotiating with gangs in Port-a-Prince's Martissant district, seeking safe passage for two humanitarian convoys. Southern Haiti is "a hot spot for gang-related violence," the agency said, and humanitarian workers are routinely attacked across the region.

The hardest hit towns are Les Cayes and Jeremie, and at Les Cayes General Hospital, there aren't enough beds for all of the wounded. People suffering from broken bones and internal injuries are being treated outside and in hallways, and the hospital is running out of pain killers and steel pins. "We are saturated, and people keep coming," Dr. Paurus Michelete told AP.

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