Haiti Earthquake: Magnitude 5.9 Tremor Hits—Deaths Recorded, Homes Destroyed

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck close to Haiti on the evening of Saturday, October 6, according to the US Geological Survey and local authorities.

Data indicated that the quake hit around 19km north west of Port-de-Paix, Haiti. An initial assessment of the damages, provided on Twitter by Renald Lubérice, General Secretary of the Council of Ministers of Haiti, said 130 people had been injured in the disaster. 

According to Reuters who were citing local officials, at least 10 people have lost their lives—seven people in Port-de-Paix and three people in the town of Gros-Morne. 

Images posted to social media appeared to show structures toppled and victims deceased. The quake was recorded at 00:11:49 (UTC), on October 7 according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The Haitian civil protection agency confirmed in a statement posted online that no tsunami warning had been issued in connection with the earthquake. “The shock was felt across all [sections] of the country, creating a start of panic in several cities,” the agency said. 

It continued: “In the northwest, several people are injured mainly in Port-de-Paix, Gros-Morne, Chansolme and Turtle Island, where houses have been destroyed or damaged. 

“Injuries are currently being received and treated in hospitals in the department. Elsewhere, casualties, mostly light, were also recorded following panic movements caused by the shock. 

“Houses are also damaged, including the Saint-Michel church in Plaisance, Nord department. Civil Protection teams are hard at work across the country and especially in the North West, where two minor aftershocks have been felt ever since. 

“The Directorate of Civil Protection invites people to keep calm and not to rely on rumors.”

Lubérice noted in a statement posted to Facebook that the government had set up crisis centers to help deal with the fallout. According to the USGS, the quake was 7.2 miles deep. 

Prime Minister of Haiti, Jean-Henry Céant, said in a statement on Twitter (translated by CNN) that damage was recorded mostly in the far north of the region.

“All my sympathies to the victims,” he wrote. "The executive at the highest level is mobilized to provide appropriate answers. I call on the population to be cautious and calm.” 

Reuters reported that the tremor had knocked down entire buildings in the north of the country. Pontepe, Gwomòn and Plezans were named by the government as some of the areas most hit. 

In January 2010, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, killing up to 300,000 people and injuring hundreds of thousands more. Statistics indicate it initially left 1.5 million people displaced.

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