A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Haiti on Saturday, killing at least 29 people and overwhelming hospitals with injured residents.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter of the earthquake was about 78 miles from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso says aftershocks will likely be felt for weeks if not months. The largest aftershock so far came in as a magnitude 5.2. The U.S. Tsunami Warning Center also initially issued a tsunami warning for Haiti. The warning has since been rescinded.
While the extent of the damage is still being assessed, the New York Times reports that the quake has leveled several cities, burying residents under the rubble.
“The most important thing is to recover as many survivors as possible under the rubble,” Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry said, noting that aid has been deployed to hard-hit areas. “We have learned that the local hospitals, in particular that of Les Cayes, are overwhelmed with wounded, fractured people,” he added.
Les Cayes is a seaport and coastal commune in Haiti.
“The needs are enormous. We must take care of the injured and fractured, but also provide food, aid, temporary shelter and psychological support,” Henry concluded.
According to the Associated Press, Henry has declared a one-month state of emergency over the entire country but is refraining from asking for international aid until the scope of the damage can be evaluated in full.
Nonetheless, after being briefed on the earthquake, President Joe Biden authorized an immediate response from the United States and named USAID Administrator Samantha Power as the senior coordinator of the effort.
The deadly earthquake comes as the island country continues to grapple with the assassination of its president and a lack of resources in battling COVID-19.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, in early July, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, 53, was assassinated in his home. A group of armed men stormed his home, killing him and injuring his wife. Authorities have made several arrests in the late president’s murder but are still investigating the incident.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Owen Franken
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.