By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
Authorities said at least 724 people were killed and 2,800 injured with many still missing after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Saturday.
The death toll was expected to rise in the impoverished Caribbean nation as several buildings were destroyed in the quake, which was felt in the neighboring Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Cuba.
Saturday’s 7.2-magnitude tremor hit the country’s west while Haiti recovered from the 2010 earthquake, killing 200,000 people.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry confirmed several “deaths and “enormous damage,” though the exact toll remains unclear.
He said he mobilized a team to work on the relief effort and sent condolences to those affected.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) warned that the earthquake could result in thousands of fatalities and injuries. The quake’s epicenter was 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the town of Petit Trou de Nippes, about 150 Kilometers (93 miles) west of the capital Port-au-Prince.
It was expected to impact the most vulnerable, including children. The regional children’s fund of the United Nations expressed deep concern about the situation.
UNICEF Latin America said on social media network Twitter: “We’re concern and deeply saddened by the news of today’s strong 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti.” It noted that UNICEF Haiti “is on standby to provide support to communities and the Government. We stand in solidarity during this difficult time.”
The earthquake comes as Haiti is already facing political, humanitarian, and security crises.
Residents pointed out that the government is still in turmoil a month after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. Large areas of the country face growing hunger, and healthcare services are reportedly overwhelmed by cases linked to COVID-19.
Despite the difficulties, Frantz Duval, editor-in-chief of Haiti’s Le Nouvelliste newspaper, reported that two hotels were among the buildings destroyed in Les Cayes. He said the local hospital was overwhelmed.
“Slowly, strongly, and for very long seconds, the earth shook in Haiti on 14 August 2021 around 8:30 am,” he wrote on Twitter.
Footage also emerged showing damaged buildings and piles of rubble after the quake.
Naomi Verneus, a 34-year-old resident of the capital Port-au-Prince, told the Associated Press news agency she was woken up by the earthquake and shaking her bed.
“I woke up and didn’t have time to put my shoes on. We lived [through] the 2010 earthquake, and all I could do was run,” she recalled. “I later remembered my two kids and my mother were still inside. My neighbor went in and told them to get out. We ran to the street.”
Many more residents were on the run as the nation faced once again a disaster, killing and injuring many people.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.