A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Saturday morning, wreaking devastation days before tropical storm Grace is expected to make landfall.
A major earthquake killed at least 29 people in southwestern Haiti on Saturday, reducing churches, hotels and homes to rubble in the latest tragedy to hit the impoverished Caribbean nation already mired in humanitarian and political crises.
The 7.2-magnitude quake, which was followed by a series of aftershocks, struck 8 km (5 miles) from the town of Petit Trou de Nippes, about 150 km west of the capital Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 10 km, the USGS said.
That made the temblor which was felt as far away as Cuba and Jamaica potentially bigger and shallower than the magnitude 7 earthquake 11 years ago that killed tens of thousands in the poorest nation in the Americas.
Voice of America updated the information:
Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he was mobilizing all available government resources to help victims in the affected areas.
The epicenter of the quake was about 125 kilometers (78 miles) west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and widespread damage was reported.
Jerry Chandler, Haiti's director of civil protection, told the AP that the death toll stood at 29 and that teams will be sent to the area for search and rescue missions.
Prime Minister Henry wrote on Twitter (translated) that the “violent quake” had caused loss of life and damage in various parts of the country. Henry appealed to Haitians to unify as they “confront this dramatic situation in which we're living right now.”
Henry declared a one-month state of emergency for the entire country.
This earthquake comes just a month after the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise.
After being briefed on the earthquake by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, President Joe Biden has authorized U.S. assistance to the beleaguered country, to be overseen by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power.