7.2-magnitude earthquake ; A powerful earthquake struck the Caribbean country of Haiti, killing at least 304 people and injuring more than 1,800. The 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the western part of the country on Saturday morning, destroying buildings including churches and hotels.
- The prime minister said there was “significant damage” and announced a state of emergency that would last a month.
- Haiti is still recovering from the devastating earthquake of 2010.
Saturday’s quake was about seven miles [12 km] from the city of Saint-Louis du Sud, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). The quake was heard in the densely populated capital of Port-au-Prince, 125 miles [125 km] away, and in neighboring countries.
“Many homes have been destroyed, people have died and others are in hospital,” Christella Saint Hilaire, a resident of the area, told AFP.
- Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he had put together a team to work on the relief campaign.
“The most important thing is to get as many survivors as possible under the rubble,” he said. “We have learned that local hospitals, especially those in Les Cayes, are full of injured and broken people.”
- Mr Henry later revealed that he had flown a plane past the town of Cayes.
U.S. President Joe Biden has authorized a “US response” to help Haiti and said USAID will work to support efforts to “assess the damage and assist efforts to find those injured and those who need to rebuild now”.
- “At a time when we are already a challenge to the people of Haiti, I am deeply saddened by the devastating earthquake,” he said.
earthquakes could result in thousands of deaths
Earlier the USGS warned that earthquakes could result in thousands of deaths and injuries. It also said that several earthquakes had been reported in the region, including a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.
Frantz Duval, editor-in-chief of the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste, wrote on Twitter that two intermediate hotel buildings had been destroyed in the town of Les Cayes. He said the local hospital was under a lot of stress.
- “Slowly, vigorously and for a few seconds the earthquake shook Haiti on August 14, 2021 at 8:30 am,” he wrote.
Journalists at Le Nouvelliste later claimed that many churches and hotels on the south coast had collapsed or severely damaged.
Episcopal Church in Les Cayes
Archdeacon Abiade Lozama, head of the Episcopal Church in Les Cayes, told The New York Times: “The streets are full of tears. People want, loved ones or resources, medical help, water.”
- Photos shared on social media showed damaged buildings and piles of rubbish after the earthquake.
Leila Bourahla, Haiti’s director of Save the Children, told the New York Times that it would take days to assess the damage but “it is clear that this is an emergency for the people”.
Naomi Verneus, 34, who lives in the capital Port-au-Prince, told the Associated Press that she was awakened by an earthquake and that her bed was shaking.
“I woke up with no time to put on my shoes. We lived untilthe 2010 earthquake and all I could do was run. I later remembered my two children and my mother inside. My neighbor came in and told them to get out. We ran on the road,” he said.
- The 2010 earthquake in Haiti killed more than 200,000 people and caused extensive infrastructure and economic damage.
- Saturday’s quake comes at a time of political crisis in the country, following the assassination of its president last month.
- Tennis star Naomi Osaka, originally from Japan and Haiti, tweeted her partnership with Haiti.
Western & Southern Open
Addressing next week’s Western & Southern Open, the four-time Grand Slam winner wrote: “I’m going to play in the tournament this week and I’m going to give all the prize money in an effort to help Haiti. I know the blood of our powerful ancestors will continue to rise.”