Source: Ryan Saavedra

A major earthquake struck Haiti on Saturday morning as the island nation still struggles to recover from a devastating earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands back in 2010.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake reportedly struck off the coast of Haiti at a depth of seven miles and was felt hundreds of miles away, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The USGS, which estimated that the number of fatalities was in the thousands, added:

  • Red alert for shaking-related fatalities. High casualties are probable and the disaster is likely widespread. Past events with this alert level have required a national or international level response.
  • Orange alert for economic losses. Significant damage is likely. Estimated economic losses are 0-3% GDP of Haiti.
  • Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are mud wall and adobe block construction.
  • Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.

The earthquake was more powerful than the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 that killed more than 200,000 people and caused billions of dollars in damage that the nation still has not recovered from.

“Two cities, Les Cayes and Jeremie, located in Haiti’s southern peninsula, have reported major devastation with people caught under rubble and buildings collapsed,” The New York Times reported.  “Phone lines were down in Petit Trou de Nippes, the epicenter of the quake. No news emerged immediately from that city, leaving Haitian officials to fear for the worst. The extent of the damage and casualties is not yet known.”

“The USGS has recorded at least three additional quakes after the large shock: a magnitude 5.2 quake some 12 miles from Cavaillon, a magnitude 4.1 quake about 5 miles of Petit Trou de Nippes, and a magnitude 4.4 quake about 2 miles from Aquin,” The Miami Herald reported. “All originated near the epicenter of the first, Saturday morning earthquake. Aftershocks are a common occurrence following big earthquakes.”

Haiti, which is currently facing Tropical Storm Grace, is still reeling after the nation’s president, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated last month.

“I woke up and didn’t have time to put my shoes on,” a resident of Port-au-Prince told the Associated Press. “We lived the 2010 earthquake and all I could do was run. I later remembered my two kids and my mother were still inside. My neighbor went in and told them to get out. We ran to the street.”

Another resident of the island told The New York Times that “many houses fell” and that “many people” could be heard “screaming under the rubble.”

The Miami Herald that an unidentified man said in a video circulating on social media that the earthquake appeared to be the “equivalent of” the earthquake in 2010.

(Note: The Image above is from the 2010 earthquake.)

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