A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck northeast of Saint-Louis du Sud in southern Haiti on Saturday, according to the United States Geological Survey. For now, at least 227 people have lost their lives, according to the first data released by the country’s Civil Protection Service, cited by EFE and which reports “hundreds of wounded and missing.”
Of the total deaths, 158 occurred in the south, according to the Civil Protection report, which initially reported 29 deaths after the earthquake.RELATED
Through its Twitter account, the agency noted that “the first interventions, carried out by both professional rescuers and members of the population, made it possible to extract many people from the rubble.” “Hospitals continue to receive injuries,” he added.
The Prime Minister of Haiti, Ariel Henry, has declared a state of emergency due to the earthquake, which occurred at 08:29 local time (12:29 GMT), about 12 kilometers from the town of Saint-Louis du Sud, with an epicenter of 10 kilometers deep, followed by a 5.2 magnitude aftershock 17 kilometers from the town of Chantal, also with the epicenter 10 kilometers deep.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which monitors the emergence of possible tsunamis around the world, warned of the “threat” of “tsunami waves that can reach 1 or 3 meters above the level. of the tide are possible in some coasts of Haiti “. However, the same organism did not take long to withdraw that warning and simply asked to maintain vigilance in case there were “minor fluctuations, of up to 30 centimeters, over and under normal tide” in coastal areas near the epicenter of the earthquake in the “next hours”.
That geological agency assigned this earthquake a red alert on its scale of human damage, which means that “it is likely that there will be a high number of victims and it is likely that the disaster will affect a large area,” it said on its website. “In the past, other events with this level of alert have required a response at the national or international level,” they added.
In January 2010, a 7-magnitude earthquake in Haiti left 300,000 dead, injured the same number and 1.5 million affected. Regarding the possible economic impact of this new earthquake, the USGS issued an orange alert, which implies that “significant damage is likely”, and that the estimated economic losses are “between 0 and 3% of Haiti’s GDP. “. He recalled that the majority of the population in the area affected by the earthquake “resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake tremors,” such as those built with mud or adobe.
Biden orders an “immediate response”
US President Joe Biden this Saturday authorized an “immediate response” by the United States to the earthquake. Biden and US Vice President Kamala Harris have 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 reported in a statement.
“The president authorized an immediate response from the United States (to the earthquake in Haiti), and appointed USAID administrator, Samantha Power, as the senior US official in charge of coordinating this effort,” the note said.