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Haiti Struck by 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake

Recovery efforts are still underway after an earthquake hit the nation around 8:30 A.M. on August 14

Haiti was hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Saturday morning. 

Multiple deaths were immediately reported and a tsunami warning was issued by the U.S. Tsunami Warning System immediately following the earthquake.

As of Sunday evening, the official death toll had surpassed 1,290 people.

U.S. Geological Survey reported that the epicenter of the quake was 7.5 miles northeast of Saint-Louis du Sud. 

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses,” USGS said. “High casualties and extensive damage are probable and the disaster is likely widespread. 

Jerry Chandler, Haiti’s director of civil protection, told AFP, “I can confirm that there are deaths, but I don’t yet have an exact toll … We’re still collecting information.” 

Initial images posted to social media show serious structural damage. In Les Cayes, a hotel collapsed leaving rubble in its place. 

According to Forbes, “the nation is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, with many structures in the country not built to standards that would allow them to withstand the major earthquakes possible there, since the country is situated along major fault lines. Highly populated mountainous regions also mean even weak tropical systems passing through the area bring the potential for catastrophic mudslides due to rain.

The earthquake is the latest disaster to strike the already troubled nation. On July 7, President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at his home near Port-au-Prince. 

“Police have detained more than 40 suspects, but there’s still no clarity about who was behind the plot to kill him. Among the detainees are 18 former Colombian soldiers and 20 Haitian police officers,” per ABC News.

Who would become the country’s leader was not immediately clear. The election to determine his successor — originally scheduled for September 26 — was pushed back to November 7 just two days before the earthquake.

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