Oxygen plant among earthquake-damaged buildings in Haiti

Aug 19, 2021, 9:02 PM | Updated: 9:58 pm
Machinery sits at the Etheuss vetiver oil factory after it was made inoperable by the 7.2 magnitude...

Machinery sits at the Etheuss vetiver oil factory after it was made inoperable by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Many of the factories that contributed to the multimillion-dollar industry responsible for more than half the world's vetiver oil used in fine perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and aromatherapy, are now inoperable. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

(AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

LES CAYES, Haiti (AP) — As if Haiti’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake, a tropical storm and the coronavirus pandemic weren’t enough, the temblor damaged the only medical oxygen plant in the southern part of the country.

The building that housed the oxygen concentrator machines that the region depended on partially collapsed, and the machines were upended. The Etheuss company is run by the a family famous for their vetiver perfume oils plant in the city of Les Cayes, one of the areas hardest hit by Saturday’s earthquake.

“We are trying to get the oxygen production started again. That is our responsibility, because many people depend on it,” said Kurtch Jeune, one of the brothers who run the plant, as he showed reporters through the damaged, rubble-strewn plants on Thursday.

The quake left concrete pillars and roofs at the facility leaning, and cement block rubble battered the tanks, electrical system and the delicate web of copper tubing that fills vital oxygen plants. “The oxygen generators are upside down,” Jeune said. “We did get a promise of help from the public works department to get the rubble out with excavators.”

Jeune said that, apart from two medical oxygen plants in the capital, Port-au-Prince, his factory was the only one serving local hospitals. As the COVID-19 pandemic grinds on, Jeune says demand for oxygen has gone up 200% in the last month.

“We have the capacity to supply 40 oxygen cylinders per day,” Jeune said. “We supply several hospitals.”

The powerful earthquake that struck Haiti’s southwestern peninsula killed at least 2,189 and injured 12,268 people, according to official figures. More than 300 people are estimated to still be missing, said Serge Chery, head of civil defense for the Southern Province, which includes the small port city of Les Cayes.

More than 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, leaving about 30,000 families homeless, according to official estimates. Hospitals, schools, offices and churches also were demolished or badly damaged.

The earthquake was trailed by a tropical storm that brought heavy rain and strong winds at the beginning of the week.

Private relief supplies and shipments from the U.S. government and others began flowing more quickly into Haiti on Thursday, but the Caribbean nation’s entrenched poverty, insecurity and lack of basic infrastructure still presented huge challenges to getting food and urgent medical care to all those who need it.

Adding to the problems, a major hospital in the capital of Port-au-Prince, where many of the injured were being sent, closed for two days beginning Thursday to protest the kidnapping of two doctors, including one of the country’s few orthopedic surgeons.

The abductions dealt a blow to attempts to control criminal violence that has threatened disaster response efforts in the capital.

Further, a group of 18 Colombian volunteer search-and-rescue workers had to be escorted out of the quake-hit city of Jeremie under police protection after a false rumor circulated that they had been involved in the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise. The workers took shelter Wednesday night at a civil defense office, and police escorted them to the airport on Thursday.

Moise’s killing, still unsolved, is suspected of being carried out by a group of Colombian mercenaries. Despite what happened to the Colombian rescue workers, Haiti is welcoming “everyone who is coming to bring assistance,” said Jerry Chandler, the head of the national Civil Protection Agency.

Health care facilities in the Western Hemisphere poorest nation were already at a critical point before the earthquake because of the pandemic. The country of 11 million people has reported 20,556 cases and 576 deaths of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Haiti received its first batch of U.S.-donated coronavirus vaccines only last month via a United Nations program for low-income countries.

The rest of Jeune’s factory, which produces an essential oil used in fine perfumes, was also badly damaged.

The family’s business processes bales of beige, stringy roots culled from the vetiver plant to produce more than half the world’s vetiver oil.

Vetiver oil is also used for cosmetics, soaps and aromatherapy. It generates an estimated $12 million in revenue a year and employs anywhere from 15,000 to 60,000 farmers.

The damage to the factory threatens Haiti’s already perilous rural economy, plagued by drought, soil erosion and tropical storms.

Haiti produces more than 70 tons of vetiver oil a year, surpassing Indonesia, China, India, Brazil and the neighboring Dominican Republic. It is one of the country’s top exports, with up to 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) harvested annually. But more than 60% of the crop still comes from individual producers, many of whom are struggling financially, according to Gabriel Gelin, a spokesman for the United Nations Environment Program in Haiti.

___

Associated Press writer Regina Garcia Cano in Mexico City contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              A man injured by the recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake is transferred to the Ofatma hospital in Les Cayes, Haiti, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)
            
              A child injured by the recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake is treated at the Immaculee Conception hospital in Les Cayes, Haiti, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)
            
              Children play next to field sown with vetiver grass back left in Les Cayes, Haiti, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Many of the factories that contributed to the multimillion-dollar industry responsible for refining more than half the world's vetiver oil used in fine perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and aromatherapy, are now inoperable because of the earthquake. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
            
              A worker rides his motorbike at the Etheuss vetiver oil factory after it was made inoperable by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Many of the factories that contributed to the multimillion-dollar industry responsible for more than half the world's vetiver oil used in fine perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and aromatherapy, are now inoperable. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
            
              Containers sit idle at the Etheuss Vetiver oil factory after it was made inoperable by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Many of the factories that contributed to one of Haiti's top exporter, used in fine perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and aromatherapy, are now inoperable. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
            
              Kurtch Jeune, owner of the Etheuss company, shows vetiver oil refined at his factory that was made inoperable by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Many of the factories that contributed to one of Haiti's top exporter used in fine perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and aromatherapy, are now inoperable. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
            
              A security guard walks along a vetiver oil factory after it was made inoperable by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Many of the factories that contributed to the multimillion-dollar industry responsible for more than half the world's vetiver oil used in fine perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and aromatherapy, are now inoperable. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
            
              A worker listens to music at the Etheuss vetiver oil factory after it was made inoperable by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Many of the factories that contributed to the multimillion-dollar industry responsible for more than half the world's vetiver oil used in fine perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and aromatherapy, are now inoperable. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
            
              Machinery sits at a vetiver oil factory after it was made inoperable by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Many of the factories that contributed to the multimillion-dollar industry responsible for more than half the world's vetiver oil used in fine perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and aromatherapy, are now inoperable. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
            
              A worker points at cracks in the yard of a veitver oil factory after it was made inoperable by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Many of the factories that contributed to the multimillion-dollar industry responsible for more than half the world's vetiver oil used in fine perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and aromatherapy, are now inoperable. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
            
              Machinery sits at the Etheuss vetiver oil factory after it was made inoperable by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Many of the factories that contributed to the multimillion-dollar industry responsible for more than half the world's vetiver oil used in fine perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and aromatherapy, are now inoperable. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

AP

FILE - Woman arrange flowers at a street market in Yangon, Myanmar, on Feb. 2, 2021. World Bank eco...
Associated Press

World Bank: Myanmar economy to grow 3%, dragged by conflict

BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar’s economy grew 3% last year and will likely achieve the same pace in 2023, but still lags far behind where it stood before the army seized power in early 2021, the World Bank said in a report released Monday. The global development agency estimates Myanmar’s level of economic activity is still […]
2 hours ago
Associated Press

Dutch electronics giant Philips to cut 6,000 jobs worldwide

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch consumer electronics and medical equipment maker Philips said Monday it is cutting 6,000 jobs worldwide over the next two years as it revealed a net loss of 1.6 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in 2022, down from a net profit of 3.3 billion euros last year. The job losses come […]
2 hours ago
The Diesel price for trucks is displayed at a gas station in Frankfurt, Germany, Friday, Jan. 27, 2...
Associated Press

Will Europe’s ban on Russian diesel hike global fuel prices?

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Europe is taking another big step toward cutting its energy ties with Russia, banning imports of diesel fuel and other products made from crude oil in Russian refineries. The European Union ban takes effect Feb. 5 following its embargo on coal and most oil from Russia. The 27-nation bloc is trying […]
2 hours ago
FILE- Dried branches of a tree stand outside Adani Corporate House in Ahmedabad, India, Friday, Jan...
Associated Press

Adani accuses short-seller Hindenburg of attacking India

NEW DELHI, India (AP) — India’s Adani Group, run by Asia’s richest man, has hit back at a report from U.S.-based short-seller Hindenburg Research, calling it “malicious”, “baseless” and full of “selective misinformation.” Shares in the conglomerate have suffered massive losses since Hindenburg issued its report alleging fraud and other malfeasance. On Monday, shares in […]
2 hours ago
Garbage covers the base of a waterfall of the Nairobi River, which traverses informal settlements a...
Associated Press

Is there hope for a dying river in Kenya’s growing capital?

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Vultures scavenge for dead animals along a river turned sewer conduit in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Its waters turn from clear to black as it traverses informal settlements and industrial hubs. The river and its tributaries cross Kibera, known as Africa’s largest slum with close to 200,000 residents, and other informal settlements. […]
2 hours ago
FILE - A staff walking near a Nissan logo at Nissan headquarters is seen though a window on May 12,...
Associated Press

Automakers Renault, Nissan make cross-shareholdings equal

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan and Renault have changed their mutual cross-shareholdings equal at 15%, ironing out a source of conflict in the Japan-French auto alliance, both sides said Monday. Up to now, Renault Group has held a 43.4% stake in Nissan Motor Co., potentially giving it a larger say in how the company is run. […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Oxygen plant among earthquake-damaged buildings in Haiti