At least 14 dead, 130 injured in Haiti earthquake

President Jovenel Moise calls for calm after a 5.9-magnitude earthquake off the northwest coast flattens homes in one of the poorest areas of the impoverished Caribbean nation

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 October, 2018, 1:01pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 October, 2018, 11:56pm

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake that struck off the northwest coast of Haiti left at least 14 people dead and more than 130 injured, authorities in the Caribbean nation said on Sunday.

The epicentre of the quake was about 19km (12 miles) northwest of the city of Port-de-Paix, the US Geological Survey reported.

The quake, which was felt across the country, struck at 8.10pm on Saturday at a shallow depth of 11.7km.

Government spokesman Eddy Jackson Alexis said 11 people had been reported dead so far, seven of them in Port-de-Paix, the capital of Haiti’s Nord-Ouest department.

Four others were killed in the town of Gros-Morne, about 50km to the southeast, the spokesman said.

Haiti’s civil protection agency put the preliminary number of injured at 135.

Two minor aftershocks were registered, the agency said, adding that no tsunami warning was issued in connection with the quake activity.

The town of Chansolme and the small island of Tortuga also suffered damage, officials said.

The tremor rattled the capital Port-de-Prince, sparking fear among residents still reeling from the massive 2010 earthquake that left at least 200,000 people dead and 300,000 more wounded.

“I urge the population to remain calm,” President Jovenel Moise said on Twitter, adding that local and regional authorities were assisting those in need.

Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant is heading up an inter-ministerial disaster response task force, he said on Twitter.

I urge the population to remain calm
President Jovenel Moise

“The injured are being treated at area hospitals,” the civil protection agency said, noting that some of the injuries were sustained when people panicked after the quake.

The agency confirmed that some homes were destroyed or damaged, without offering specific figures.

Images of damaged homes and partially destroyed buildings were circulating on social media.

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The Nord-Ouest department is the poorest part of impoverished Haiti, with many areas isolated due to the dire state of the roads.

The devastating 7.0-magnitude quake in January 2010 left more than 1.5 million people homeless. Tens of thousands remain in makeshift camps.

The damage caused was worth an estimated 120 per cent of GDP in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

Longer-term reconstruction has been hampered by lingering political chaos in the nation of nearly 11 million people, and by a deadly cholera epidemic introduced by infected Nepalese UN peacekeepers sent in after the quake.