Posted: Saturday, August 14, 2021. 3:32 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: A major earthquake that struck southwestern Haiti on Saturday has claimed the lives of at least 227 people, according to Reuters, further deepening the country’s sense of tragedy following a year of humanitarian and political crises.
The epicenter of the temblor was five miles from the town of Petit Trou de Nippes, roughly 93 miles west of the capital Port-au-Prince, at a depth of six miles according to information from the United States Geological Service (USGS), making it potentially bigger and shallower than the similar earthquake in March of 2010 that killed tens of thousands.
There was less damage in Port-au-Prince this time according to observers, with more injuries and deaths in the nearby town of Les Cayes. Prime Minister Ariel Henry declared a month-long state of emergency.
There were initial fears of a tsunami after a brief flood in Les Cayes but a warning by the U.S. authorities was quickly lifted.
U.S. President Joe Biden authorized an immediate U.S. response to the earthquake and named Samantha Power, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), coordinator of the effort.
The earthquake comes just over a month after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise who had been ruling by decree, which deepened the country’s political turmoil.
Haiti has been repeatedly hit by shocks starting with the 2010 earth quake, 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, the COVID-19 pandemic, the Moise assassination after months of political turmoil, this earthquake and potential further damage from Tropical Storm Grace which could bring heavy rains early next week.
No wonder then that one entrepreneur said on Twitter that Haiti just can’t find a break. Already traumatized residents were sent screaming into the streets this morning and stayed there as the aftershocks rumbled on. The quake sent shock waves as far as Cuba and Jamaica although there were no reports of material damage, deaths or injuries in either country.
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