More U.S. forces deployed to Haiti as death toll nears 2,000

Haiti faced another grim day on Wednesday as search and rescue teams found more bodies in the rubble. Rescue and recovery efforts have been slowed by Tropical Storm Grace, and have been hampered by the fact that the earthquake destroyed roads leading to some of the hardest-hit areas. 

Jerry Chandler, the head of Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency, told Reuters that at least 600,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 135,000 families are displaced. The death toll stands at 1,941. 

More U.S. forces have now been deployed to the country — the Navy warship USS Arlington, which carries more than 600 military personnel, will arrive Friday. 

“It’s a heavily damaged area and I think the need is going to be great,” said Lieutenant Colonel Cory Murtaugh of the Marine Corps. 

HAITI-EARTHQUAKE
A bulldozer clears the rubble of a building that collapsed in the earthquake in Brefet, a neighborhood of Les Cayes, Haiti, on August 17, 2021. Reginald Louissaint Jr. /AFP via Getty Images

CBS News visited a hospital in Les Cayes, a city very close to the epicenter of the quake, and saw the U.S. Coast Guard bringing thousands of pounds of supplies. The Coast Guard has also rescued dozens of injured people. 

“We have all kinds of rescue equipment,” one Coast Guard rescue worker said. “We have over 80 rescuers in this area.”

But desperation is growing as many of the hospitals are overwhelmed, forcing some patients to be treated outside — including a woman and her newborn child. A young boy with a broken leg was lucky to get a bed at the Hôpital OFATMA des Cayes. 

“I am doing okay,” the boy said. 

Haiti, Tropical Storm Grace
Firefighters take a break during search efforts of survivors in a collapsed building after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti and as tropical storm Grace moves over Jamaica on August 17, 2021, in Les Cayes, Haiti.  Richard Pierrin / Getty

CBS News traveled Wednesday with World Central Kitchen, a humanitarian group that prepared thousands of meals and delivered them to people who haven’t eaten in days. 

“We know that they are really hungry,” one worker said. “They lost their houses, they lost everything. So for sure the most important thing for them right now is to eat to stay alive.”