death toll rises after magnitude 5.9 temblor rocks nation
A magnitude 5.9 earthquake rocked northwestern Haiti late Saturday, killing at least 10 people, injuring more than 100 and damaging dozens of homes and businesses.
The U.S. Geologic Survey said the quake hit at 8:11 p.m. Saturday local time and was centered 12 miles northwest of Port-de-Paix on Haiti’s north coast. It was 7.3 miles below the surface.
The search and rescue effort was hindered by heavy rains that flooded streets in the region. The quake and its aftershocks set off panic in some neighborhoods, but President Jovenel Moïse and other leaders called for calm.
“I am in constant contact with the PM Jean-Henry Ceant, who is coordinating the relief operations,” Moïse said on Twitter. “I asked him to mobilize all the resources of the republic to help the people.”
At least five of the deaths were registered in the the Port-de-Paix area, Jerry Chandler, the head of the country’s Civil Protection disaster response unit, told the Miami Herald.
The quake was among the strongest to hit the Caribbean nation since a major 7.1 tremor in 2010 killed more than 250,000 people. Haiti, one of the world’s poorest nations, is especially vulnerable to earthquakes. The island sits on the border between the American and Caribbean tectonic plates, which move almost an inch per year. The movement can trigger seismic movement along active fault lines.
The country’s civil protection agency issued a statement saying several people were injured and some houses destroyed in Port-de-Paix, Gros Morne, Chansolme and Turtle Island. Among the structures damaged was the Saint-Michel church in Plaisance.
The quake was felt in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and in neighboring Dominican Republic.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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