The death toll from Saturday's 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Haiti has doubled overnight to 724 people, with 2,800 injured in Saturday's in Haiti, according to the director of the Civil Protection Agency. The earthquake hit early in the morning, leveling buildings and filling streets with debris.
A one-month state of emergency was declared by Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who said that some towns were completely leveled by the quake.
"The most important thing is to recover as many survivors as possible under the rubble," said Henry, adding "We have learned that the local hospitals, in particular that of Les Cayes, are overwhelmed with wounded, fractured people."
While the International Red Cross and hospitals throughout the rest of the country are helping to care for the injured, USAID Haiti announced on Sunday that they're 65 emergency response personnel, and will send 52,000 pounds of special tools, equipment and medical supplies to support rescue operations.
Update: at the request of Haiti’s government, @USAID has deployed an urban search & rescue team to join our #Haiti earthquake disaster response team. This 65-person deployment brings 52,000 pounds of specialized tools, equipment & medical supplies to assist in search operations.— Samantha Power (@PowerUSAID) August 15, 2021
The quake struck near the cities of Nippes and Jeremie along the southern peninsula. Damage was reported over 93 miles away in the capital of Port-au-Prince, while the quake was felt as far as CUba and Jamaica, according to RT.
"Lots of homes are destroyed, people are dead and some are at hospital," Christella Saint Hilaire, who lives near the epic centre, told media."Everyone is in the street now and the shockes keep coming."— mkjpriyanshu (@mpriyanshu1982) August 14, 2021
Jerry Chandler, Haiti's director of civil protection, pic.twitter.com/dibpnuqIhL
As ITV reports, "Among those killed in Saturday's quake was Gabriel Fortune, a longtime lawmaker and former mayor of Les Cayes. He died along with several others when his hotel, Le Manguier, collapsed, the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste reported."
Philippe Boutin, 37, who lives in Puerto Rico but visits his family every year in Les Cayes, said his mother was saying morning prayers when the shaking began, but was able to leave the house.
The earthquake happened during the festivities to celebrate the town’s patron saint. Mr Boutin said the hotel was probably full and the small town had more people than usual.
“We still don’t know how many people are under the rubble,” he said.
Naomi Verneus, a 34-year-old resident of Port-au-Prince, said she was woken up by the earthquake which shook her bed.
She said: “I woke up and didn’t have time to put my shoes on. We lived the 2010 earthquake and all I could do was run. I later remembered my two kids and my mother were still inside. My neighbour went in and told them to get out. We ran to the street.” -ITV
The quake comes more than a month after president Jovenel Moise was assassinated, adding to the post-quake chaos.
"We’re concerned that this earthquake is just one more crisis on top of what the country is already facing – including the worsening political stalemate after the president’s assassination, Covid and food insecurity," said Jean-Wickens Merone, spokesman for humanitarian aid groups World Vision Haiti.
By late Saturday, Haiti had experienced six aftershocks stronger than 5.0 magnitude, and nine above 4.0.