The Haitian prime minister yesterday declared a state of emergency after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the country’s southwest, causing several deaths and reducing buildings to rubbles in the latest crisis to hit the Caribbean nation.
The earthquake struck in the morning 12km (7.4 miles) northeast of Saint-Louis du Sud on Haiti’s southern Tiburon Peninsula, at a shallow depth of 10km (6.2 miles), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported.
Jerry Chandler, who heads Haiti’s civil protection agency, told reporters that the earthquake had killed at least 29 people, while several others were injured. Search efforts are ongoing, Chandler said.
Haiti’s new prime minister, Ariel Henry, said on Twitter that the “violent quake” had caused loss of life and “enormous damage” in various parts of the country.
He said he would mobilise all available government resources to help victims and appealed to Haitians to unify as they “confront this dramatic situation in which we’re living right now”.
“We will make the necessary arrangements to assist those affected by the earthquake,” Henry also tweeted. “The government will declare a state of emergency. We will act quickly.”
The USGS said “high casualties are probable and the disaster is likely widespread”.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) also reported a quake in the region, saying it was of 7.6 magnitude, while Cuba’s seismological centre said it registered a magnitude of 7.4.
The USGS issued a tsunami warning, saying waves of up to 3 metres (nearly 10 feet) were possible along the coastline of Haiti, but it soon lifted the warning. Shocks were felt throughout Haiti and in neighbouring Caribbean countries.