Major Earthquake Strikes Northern Haiti

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck northern Haiti Saturday, Reuters news agency reports.

A number of Haitians have been injured and buildings damaged, according to local authorities and media. The earthquake struck about 12.3 miles west-northwest of the port of Port-de-Paix. At least one person has been reported dead.

The person died when an auditorium collapsed in the town of Gros Morne.

This is the strongest earthquake to hit Haiti since 2010, when a 7.0 magnitude quake struck near Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital, in 2010, killing hundreds of thousands of Haitians.

The earthquake was felt in Port-au-Prince as well, but had not caused major damage there.

The earthquake caused injuries and panic in north of the country, prompting President Jovenel Moise to urge citizens to remain calm, via Twitter.

“An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 has hit Haiti. According to the first reports by the Civil Protection, there is damage in the Far North of the Island. I am working closely with authorities for an appropriate response,” Moise tweeted, according to the Sunday Express.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the quake was only 7.2 miles deep.

The 2010 Haiti earthquake, which struck in January that year, had a 7.1 magnitude. According to CNN, although estimates vary, between 220,000 and 300,000 are thought to have died in the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, and 300,000 are thought to have been injured.

According to the United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti, $13.34 billion in aid has been allocated to the country by international agencies for 2010-2020.

One hundred and twenty two Americans died in the 2010 natural disaster.

“Some casualties are possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Past events with this alert level have required a local or regional level response,” preliminary report states, according to the Weather Channel.

Haiti, an earthquake-prone country, sits along the so called “Ring of Fire,” the Weather Channel notes, horseshoe-shaped area where volcanic eruptions and earthquakes often occur.

The quake was felt in the neighboring Dominican Republic as well, Miami Herald reports, confirming that a number of buildings in Port-de-Paix, Gros Morne, Chansolme, and Turtle Island has been destroyed.

Haiti is an impoverished country where thousands have suffered as a result of the cholera epidemic that struck the nation in 2016. According to U.N., “building sound water, sanitation, and health systems” in an effort to eliminate disease in the country is a moral responsibility of the world, and of the United Nations.

According to Haiti Partners — which consists of Haiti- and U.S.-based humanitarian and other organizations — Haiti ranks 168 out of 187 on the Human Development Index, and 59 percent of the country’s population lives on less than $2 a day.

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