Photo: Ralph Tedy Erol / EFE
A powerful earthquake shook Haiti on Saturday morning, killing at least 227 people and leaving hundreds injured or still missing, authorities said.
The 7.2 magnitude earthquake was strong enough to be felt in neighboring countries.
The epicenter of the earthquake was located 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) northeast of Saint-Louis du Sud, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
“There are likely to be a large number of casualties and the disaster is likely to be widespread,” the USGS said. “Past events with this level of alert have required a response at the national or international level.”
A tsunami warning was issued immediately after the earthquake, but was later lifted, CBS News reported.
Residents shared images on social media of the ruins of concrete buildings, which AFP said included a church where a ceremony was apparently taking place in the southwestern town of Les Anglais. Part of the Church of the Sacred Heart in Les Cayes and the bishop’s house also collapsed.
People in the capital city of Port-au-Prince felt the shaking and many rushed to the streets in fear.
On January 12, 2010, a massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, one of the deadliest natural disasters in the history of the Western Hemisphere. The earthquake near Port-au-Prince killed about 250,000 people and the island is still recovering.
UNICEF is already helping
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said it has teams on the ground to help children and families affected by the earthquake.
“We are deeply saddened by the reports of casualties and serious damage following today’s earthquake in Haiti,” said Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representative in Haiti, in a statement, reports Pamela Falk of CBS News. “UNICEF is working with governmental and non-governmental partners to support affected communities. We stand in solidarity with families and children during this difficult time ”.
The Secretary General of the UN, António Gutteres, said on Twitter that his “heart goes out to all those affected by the earthquake” and that the UN is working to support rescue and relief efforts.
Experts from the United States are already in Haiti
A team of disaster experts from the United States is in Haiti to assess the “damages and needs” of the Caribbean country after the earthquake that affected the impoverished nation this Saturday and that has left, so far, 227 deaths and considerable material damage.
This was announced this Saturday by the administrator of the United States Agency for Development Cooperation (USAID), Samantha Power, designated by President Joe Biden, to coordinate the response to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti.