Panama City, Aug 16 (EFE).- The Panamanian government established here Monday a staging area for aid to Haiti in the wake of the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that struck the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation over the weekend.
“Together with the government of Chile, Panama has created a humanitarian hub,” first lady Yazmin de Cortizo told Efe.
Her husband, Laurentino Cortizo, and Chilean President Sebastian Piñera agreed that an airplane loaded with aid from Chile would deliver its cargo to Haiti and then fly on to Panama to collect another a load of supplies from the Central American country, she said.
As the sun rose Monday, people were already bringing donations to the center in Panama City’s Omar Park.
“The whole world should support our Haitian brothers. They are suffering. There was already an assassination, now the earthquake and a tropical wave is coming,” Alex Martinez, 50, told Efe as he dropped off a donation.
Haiti’s president, Jovenel Moise, was slain on July 7 and the southern part of the country – where the temblor struck – is expected to experience flooding and landslides in the coming hours from rains brought by Tropical Depression Grace.
The Chilean aircraft is due in Panama on Tuesday after delivering 16 tons of humanitarian aid to Port-au-Prince.
Other Latin American nations, including Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela, have dispatched supplies to Haiti following Saturday’s quake, which killed 1,297 people and left nearly 6,000 others injured, according to the latest count.
With fatalities all but certain to continue climbing, the temblor on Haiti’s Tiburon peninsula is already one of the 10 deadliest earthquakes in the region over the last quarter-century.
As many as 300,000 people perished as a result the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that devastated the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area in January 2010. EFE adl-cl/dr