- A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake rocked the southern Caribbean nation of Haiti.
- According to the disaster agency, at least 304 people were killed.
- Authorities said at least 1,800 people were injured in the quake and many are still missing.
Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry described the situation on Twitter as “tragic” and declared a month-long state of emergency.
According to official information, the earthquake occurred about 12 kilometers from the municipality of Saint-Louis-de-Sud and about 125 kilometers west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, at a depth of about ten kilometers.
The US Meteorological Service (NOAA) initially issued a tsunami warning after the current earthquake – but canceled it soon after. However, he advised people to be careful. The US Geological Survey (USGS) has declared a red alert with a possible fatality target: this means that a large number of casualties are possible. Similarities were also drawn to the 2010 earthquake. This occurred only about 75 kilometers east on the same peninsula.
For a long time it was not clear what damage the current earthquake caused. Gazette Haiti reported that many homes were destroyed, as evidenced by photos and videos on social networks. Entire parts of houses and walls collapsed.
An eyewitness from Les Cayes in the southwest, one of the largest cities in the country, told the Haiti News Network of the collapsed homes and hotels and that people were buried under the rubble. Diario Libre newspaper from the Dominican Republic published a video of the alleged moment when the earth shook in Haiti on Saturday morning.
According to eyewitnesses, initially no major damage was noticed in the capital, Port-au-Prince. According to residents, the earthquake was felt in Cuba.
The United States holds the possibility of aid
The United States promised Haiti quick relief after the earthquake. “Our experts are already on site to assess damage and needs,” Samantha Powers, head of the US Agency for Development Cooperation and Emergency Aid, wrote on Twitter. One now wants to react quickly. US President Joe Biden was briefed on the situation in Haiti and asked the US Agency for International Development to coordinate the US response.
Bad memories of the 2010 earthquake
Haiti’s densely populated capital, Port-au-Prince, was at the epicenter of an earthquake of similar magnitude in 2010. About 222,000 people were killed and more than 300,000 were injured as a result of the quake. More than a million people lost their homes. Damage from the earthquake was estimated at 8 billion US dollars (6.2 billion euros). Reconstruction also got off to a slow start due to political instability.
The poor Caribbean nation of Haiti is frequently hit by severe earthquakes. Recently, the political crisis plunged the country into more chaos. Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in July. He was ambushed and killed by a heavily armed soldier in his home.