A massive earthquake shook Haiti on Saturday morning, leaving hundreds of people dead and wreaking significant damage in the poor Caribbean nation.
The 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck roughly 5 miles from the town of Petit Trou de Nippes and 93 miles west of the capital city of Port-au-Prince, according to Reuters.
Tremors were felt as far away as Cuba and Jamaica. Reuters reported that this quake was potentially bigger than the one that hit Haiti in 2010, killing tens of thousands.
In Port-au-Prince on Saturday, people ran out of their buildings fearing a similar calamity, Reuters reported.
“In my neighborhood, I heard people screaming. They were flying outside,” resident Sephora Pierre Louis said. “At least they know to go outside. In 2010, they didn’t know what to do.”
The U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the Saturday earthquake caused thousands of fatalities and “extensive damage.” The agency believes that severe shaking was likely felt by nearly 600,000 people.
“Estimated economic losses are 6-60% GDP of Haiti,” the USGS said, adding that “landslides triggered by this earthquake are estimated to be significant in number.”
Videos circulating on social media show intense damage suffered around the country.
#NEW: Images reveal mass destruction following the 7.2 earthquake in #Haiti. Similar in strength to the catastrophic earthquake that killed more than 160,000 people in the Caribbean country in 2010, according to a study. pic.twitter.com/1RYFlv31af
— Leonardo Feldman (@LeoFeldmanNEWS) August 14, 2021
Another massive 7.0 earthquake in Haiti 🇭🇹 today 🙏 pic.twitter.com/snjp8v1FsI
— Jimmy Jean-Louis (@haitianhero) August 14, 2021
“I extend my sympathies to the relatives of the victims of this violent earthquake which caused losses in human lives and material damage in multiple areas of the country,” Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry tweeted, adding that he is mobilizing all his administration’s resources to assist the victims.
Je mobilise toutes les ressources de mon Administration en vue de venir en aide aux victimes. #Haïti
— Dr Ariel Henry (@DrArielHenry) August 14, 2021
“We will make the necessary arrangements to assist people affected by the earthquake. … We must show a lot of solidarity with regard to the emergency. The government will declare a state of emergency. We will act quickly,” Henry wrote in another tweet.
Reuters reported that the U.S. Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning following the quake. However, it later announced that a tsunami was not expected.
Tsunami Info Stmt: M7.0 Haiti Region 0829EDT Aug 14: Tsunami NOT expected; U.S. Atlantic or Gulf Coast
— NWS Tsunami Alerts (@NWS_NTWC) August 14, 2021
The timing of the quake is proving frustrating to Haitians, who are already in the midst of a political crisis following the assassination of their former president last month.
According to The New York Times, Haiti is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.