At Least 12 Dead, Almost 200 Injured After Earthquake Rocks Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Monday October 8, 2018 – As emergency teams provide relief to residents affected by a 5.9 magnitude quake that struck the northern part of Haiti, damaging and destroying buildings, the death toll has risen to 12.

Authorities said that about 188 other people were injured when the tremor occurred around 8:11 p.m. on Saturday, 11 miles northwest of Port-de-Paix, off Haiti’s northern coast. Most of the deceased were in that coastal city, which is about 136 miles from the capital of the French-speaking Caribbean nation.
Homes were destroyed in Port-de-Paix, Gros-Morne, Chansolme and Turtle Island.

The quake was also felt lightly in the capital, as well as in the neighbouring Dominican Republic – with which Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola – and in eastern Cuba, where no damage was reported.

After the tremor, which occurred almost nine years after a 7.0 magnitude quake shook Port-au-Prince and left more than 300,000 people dead, President Jovenel Moïse appealed for calm.

“I urge the population to keep calm . . . . The [disaster] risk management system and the regional branches of the Civil Protection are on standby to assist the inhabitants of the affected areas,” he posted on Twitter.

Moïse also instructed Haitian Prime Minister Jean Henry Ceant to immediately put together a crisis committee to coordinate the emergency response, and he also visited Port-de-Paix and Gros-Morne.

Then yesterday, as survivors were shifting through the rubble of Saturday’s tremor and relief was being provided to affected residents, the first significant aftershock – a 5.2 magnitude tremor – occurred in around the same location. Its epicentre was located 9.8 miles north-northwest of Port-de-Paix and it had a depth of 10 kilometres.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres says his organization is ready to assist Haiti.

“The Secretary-General is saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life and injuries caused by the earthquake in north-west Haiti on 6 October,” said a statement issued by Guterres’ spokesperson yesterday.

“The United Nations stands ready to support the Government of Haiti in the response efforts.”

Saturday’s quake was the strongest earthquake to hit Haiti since the 2010 quake.

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