Haiti earthquake: A strong earthquake has shaken the Caribbean nation of Haiti, killing at least 304 people and injuring more than 1,800.
A magnitude 7.2 earthquake shook the region Saturday morning, knocking down and damaging buildings, including churches and hotels.
The prime minister said there had been “extensive damage” and a month-long state of emergency had been declared.
Haiti is still recovering from the 2010 earthquake.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) said on Saturday that the quake was 12 km (7.5 miles) from the town of St. Louis du Sud.
The epicenter was reported below the Pacific Ocean floor, however; no tsunami alert was issued.
“Many houses were destroyed, people died and some were hospitalized,” Crystalla Saint Hilar, who lives near the epicenter, told AFP.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he had assembled a team to work on relief efforts.
“The most important thing is to get out as many survivors as possible under the rubble,” he said. “We learned that local hospitals, especially the Les Case Hospital, were overflowing with injured and broken people.”
Mr Henry later revealed that he had flown over the city of Case.
The epicenter was reported below the epicenter, according to the European Mediterranean Center (EMSC).
U.S. President Joe Biden has authorized an “immediate U.S. response” to assist Haiti and said USAID will work to “assess the damage and assist in efforts to recover those injured and those who now need to be rebuilt.”
“At a time when it was already a challenge for the Haitian people, I was devastated by a devastating earthquake,” he said.
The USGS warned in advance that the quake could cause thousands of deaths and injuries. A magnitude 5.1 earthquake also shook the region.
Frantz Duel, editor-in-chief of the Haitian newspaper Le Nowellist, tweeted that there were two hotels in the demolished buildings in the town of Les Case. He said the local hospital was overflowing.
“The earth shook in Haiti at 8:30 am on August 14, 1421, slowly, strongly and for very long seconds,” he wrote.
Reporters at Le Nowelliste later reported that the majority of churches and hotels on the south coast had collapsed or suffered major damage.
Archdeacon Abiade Lozama, head of the Episcopal Church in Les Case, told the New York Times: “The streets are full of screams. People are looking for their loved ones or resources, medical help, water.”
Photos shared on social media showed piles of buildings and debris damaged after the quake.
Leila Bourahla, Haiti director of Save the Children, told the New York Times that it would take days to assess the damage, but “it is clear it is a major humanitarian emergency.”
Naomi Vernius, 34, who lives in the capital, Port-au-Prince, told the Associated Press that she was woken up by the quake and that her bed was shaking.
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“I woke up and didn’t have time to put on my shoes. We lived through the 2010 earthquake and that’s all I could do. Then I remembered my two kids and my mother was still inside. My neighbor went inside and told them to get out. We ran down the street,” she said. Says.
Gran Ri Vil Jeremie pic.twitter.com/RBPStzMOxE— JCOM Haïti (@JCOMHaiti) August 14, 2021
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti killed more than 200,000 people and caused extensive damage to infrastructure and the economy.
The quake struck on Saturday amid a political crisis in the country following the assassination of its president last month.
Naomi Osaka, a tennis star of Japanese and Haitian descent, tweeted her solidarity with Haiti.
Referring to next week’s Western & Southern Open, the four – time Grand Slam winner wrote: “I’m going to play in this week’s tournament and give away prizes for relief work for Haiti. I know the blood of our ancestors is strong and we will continue to grow.”