A powerful earthquake has left parts of Haiti in shambles and is believed to have claimed hundreds of lives. The quake registered a 7.2 magnitude. It was centered 78 miles west of Port-au-Prince. According to Reuters, “That made the temblor which was felt as far away as Cuba and Jamaica potentially bigger and shallower than the magnitude 7 earthquake 11 years ago that killed tens of thousands in the poorest nation in the Americas.”

The Washington Post reports:

Saturday’s quake was stronger, though centered farther from the capital, than the devastating 2010 temblor that killed more than 220,000, prompting foreign governments and aid agencies to prepare for large numbers of dead, wounded and homeless. Officials and witnesses reported heavy damage and fatalities dozens of miles from the epicenter, 7.4 miles northeast of Saint-Louis du Sud, where the quake struck at 8:29 a.m. Haiti’s Office of Civil Protection reported at least 227 people had died — 158 of them from the hardest hit southern region — with hundreds more missing and wounded. The death toll was expected to rise.


The AP writes, “Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he was rushing aid to areas where towns were destroyed and hospitals overwhelmed with incoming patients.”

Henry declared a one-month state of emergency for the whole country and said he would not ask for international help until the extent of the damages was known. He said some towns were almost completely razed and the government had people in the coastal town of Les Cayes to help plan and coordinate the response.

“The most important thing is to recover as many survivors as possible under the rubble,” said Henry. “We have learned that the local hospitals, in particular that of Les Cayes, are overwhelmed with wounded, fractured people.”

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