The 7.2-magnitude quake, which was adopted by a sequence of aftershocks, struck 8 km (5 miles) from the city of Petit Trou de Nippes, about 150 km west of the capital Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 10 km, the USGS mentioned.
That made the earthquake probably greater and shallower than the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck Haiti 11 years in the past . That quake killed tens of hundreds if not tons of of hundreds of individuals, flattening buildings and leaving many homeless in what was already the poorest nation within the Americas.
This one – which occurred round 8:30 a.m. native time – hit farther away from the capital, nonetheless. In Port-au-Prince, it was strongly felt however didn’t seem to have induced main harm, in accordance with Reuters witnesses, that means there’ll doubtless be fewer fatalities than the devastating 2010 catastrophe.
The closest large city was Les Cayes, with a inhabitants of round 126,000, the place two residents instructed Reuters a significant lodge and different buildings had collapsed.
“I current my sympathies to the mother and father of the victims of this violent earthquake that has induced the lack of a number of lives and materials harm in numerous provinces,” Prime Minister Ariel Henry mentioned on Twitter, within the first official affirmation of fatalities.
USGS mentioned “excessive casualties are possible and the catastrophe is probably going widespread.”
In Les Cayes, locals mentioned water had briefly flooded the coastal city, inflicting panic amid concern of a tsunami, however then appeared to retreat. Haitian media shops reported some folks alongside the coast had already fled to the mountains.
The U.S. Tsunami Warning System issued a tsunami warning after the quake, lifting it shortly thereafter.
‘NEVER A BREAK’
The earthquake comes as Haiti is already mired in intertwined political, humanitarian and safety crises.
The federal government is in turmoil, a month after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, whereas swaths of the nation are dealing with rising starvation and healthcare companies are overwhelmed by COVID-19. Entry to the southern area, the place the quake struck, has been restricted by gang management of key areas.
That area had solely not too long ago recovered from Hurricane Matthew, which struck in 2016, killing tons of and inflicting widespread devastation. Haiti is now within the cone of Tropical Storm Grace which may deliver heavy rains early subsequent week.
“This nation simply by no means finds a break! Annually of mismanagement didn’t damage however the cumulative results made us susceptible to every thing,” mentioned Haitian entrepreneur Marc Alain Boucicault on Twitter.
“Its going to take years to make things better and we now have not even began!”
In Port-au-Prince, residents traumatized by the 2010 quake rushed, screaming, into the streets and stayed there because the aftershocks rumbled on.
“In my neighborhood, I heard folks screaming. They had been flying exterior,” mentioned resident Sephora Pierre Louis. “No less than they know to go exterior. In 2010, they didn’t know what to do. Individuals are nonetheless exterior on the street.”
The quake was felt so far as Cuba and Jamaica though there have been no studies of fabric harm, deaths or accidents there.
“Everybody is admittedly afraid. It has been years since such a giant earthquake,” mentioned Daniel Ross, a resident within the japanese Cuban metropolis of Guantanamo.
He mentioned his house stood agency however the furnishings shook.
“I really feel it, man. It wake me up. My roof form of make some noise,” mentioned Danny Bailey, 49, in Kingston.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) additionally reported a quake within the area, saying it was magnitude 7.6, whereas Cuba’s seismological centre mentioned it registered a magnitude of seven.4.