Haiti Hit By Major Earthquake Causing Death And Widespread Damage
A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck off Haiti’s coast Saturday, toppling homes, causing dozens of deaths and triggering a series of aftershocks in the disaster-pone Caribbean nation.
The quake hit 7.5 miles northeast of the town of Saint-Luis du Sud on the country’s Tiburon Peninsula.
The earthquake had “caused several losses of human life and material in several geographical departments of the country,” Prime Minister Ariel Henry wrote on Twitter. “I will mobilize all the resources of my administration to help victims.”
The civil protection agency reported at least 29 dead, as social media filled with images of toppled homes, crushed cars and overflowing hospitals in the city of Les Cayes.
Among the deceased was Gabriel Fortune, a former senator and mayor whose body was found in the rubble of his hotel in Les Cayes, Election Minister Matthias Pierre wrote on Twitter.
U.S. President Joe Biden authorized an immediate response and designated the U.S. Agency for International Development to coordinate the effort, according to a White House official.
Saturday’s tremor took place on the same fault line that caused the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
“High casualties are probable and the disaster is likely widespread,” the U.S. Geological Survey said in a statement. “Past events with this alert level have required a national or international level response.”
The earthquake comes as Haiti bracing for Tropical Storm Grace, which is expected to sweep over Hispaniola on Monday. It’s also still recovering from the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
“Today’s earthquake is yet another setback for Haiti on top of political instability and worsening violence, Covid-19 and rising food insecurity,” Cara Buck, the acting Haiti director of the aid agency Mercy Corps, said in a statement from Port-au-Prince. “We’re also expecting Tropical Storm Grace next week, which could make any earthquake response even more difficult.”
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