29 dead in 7.2 earthquake in Haiti reported, as Biden calls for immediate action

29 dead in 7.2 earthquake in Haiti reported, as Biden calls for immediate action

Haitian Red Cross and Civil Protection Service personnel in an earthquake drill in 2016.

Photo: HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP / Getty Images

WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden on Saturday authorized an “immediate response” from the United States to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti, and that has left at least 29 dead and enormous damage in the south of the country.

Biden and US Vice President Kamala Harris held a video conference on Afghanistan with their national security team, in which they also received information about the earthquake in Haiti, the White House explained in a statement.

“The president authorized an immediate response from the United States (to the earthquake in Haiti), and appointed the administrator of USAID (the US agency for development), Samantha Power, as the senior US official in charge of coordinating this effort,” says the short note.

The White House did not specify what that response will consist of. and it did not clarify whether any kind of assistance will be sent immediately to the Caribbean country.

Those in charge of reporting the earthquake to Biden, who is this weekend at the presidential residence in Camp David (Maryland), were the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and the president’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.

29 dead at the moment by the earthquake

At least 29 people lost their lives due to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, which occurred this Saturday northeast of Saint-Louis du Sud, in southern Haiti, according to the first data released by the country’s Civil Protection Service.

Shortly before these figures were known, the Haitian Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, said that the earthquake left a “dramatic” situation and caused “several loss of human life and material (damage)” in several departments of the country, the poorest in America. .

The earthquake occurred at 08:29 local time (12.29 GMT) and had a depth of 10 kilometers, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS, in English).

That geological agency assigned this earthquake a red alert on its human damage scale, which means that “there is likely to be a high number of victims and the disaster is likely to affect a large area,” he said on his website.

“In the past, other events with this level of alert have required a response at the national or international level,” he warned.

The US National Oceans and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA, in English) issued a tsunami alert that it later raised, determining that the threat of this phenomenon characterized by giant waves had passed.

In earthquake it had an intensity slightly higher than earthquake of magnitude 7 that in January 2010 left 300,000 dead, the same number of injured and 1.5 million victims in Haiti.

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