Rescue workers scrambled to find survivors after a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti early Saturday, killing at least 304 and toppling buildings in the disaster-plagued Caribbean nation still recovering from a devastating 2010 quake.
The epicentre of the shaking, which rattled homes and sent terrified locals scrambling for safety, was about 160 kilometres by road west of the centre of the densely populated capital Port-au-Prince. Churches, businesses, schools and homes crumbled in the quake that trapped hundreds of victims under rubble and left at least 1,800 people injured, the country’s civil protection agency said.
Rescuers raced against the clock to find survivors, with the civil protection tweeting that efforts by “both professional rescuers and members of the public have led to many people being pulled from the rubble,” adding that already overburdened hospitals continue to receive injured.
Hours after the quake, the agency announced the death toll had jumped to 304, ticking upwards throughout the day from the first report of 29 fatalities. The long, initial quake was felt in much of the Caribbean, emanating from the epicentre at Haiti’s southwestern peninsula.
The civil protection said at least 160 people were killed in the country’s South department alone. Lots of homes are destroyed, people are dead and some are at the hospital,” 21-year-old Christella Saint Hilaire, who lives near the epicentre, told AFP.
Hospitals in the regions hardest hit by the quake were already struggling to provide emergency care and at least three in the municipalities of Pestel, Corailles and Roseaux were completely full, according to Jerry Chandler, head of the civil protection agency.
The United States and other nations swiftly pledged support to the crisis-wracked country, with US President Joe Biden approving “immediate” aid efforts.
“In what is already a challenging time for the people of Haiti, I am saddened by the devastating earthquake,” Biden said, adding that his country was ready to “assess the damage and assist efforts to recover those who were injured and those who must now rebuild.
In other news – Bra Sanza who died in Killer Kau & Mpura car accident laid to rest in style – PICTURES
By just one glance at Bra Sanza’s pictures, and one can see that he was a gentle soul.
Even Mzansi agrees, judging by the moving tribute they paid to Bra Sanza, the man who also lost his life on that fatal accident that claimed the lives of Mpura, Thando, Killer Kau, and Khanya! The gentle soul was a dedicated Fire Fighter and a resident of Lemenong, Phokeng in Rustenburg. Learn more