Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake Hits Haiti
Over the weekend, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit the northern tip of Haiti, approximately 200 kilometers from Port-au-Prince, the capital. The death toll has risen to 17 individuals and 333 more were injured.
An aftershock of a magnitude of 5.2 followed the initial earthquake. Thousands of Haitians are coping with this tragedy by sleeping on mattresses in the middle of the streets in fear that more potential aftershocks will follow. Polycarpe Saeely, a medical chief, shared his concerns, “With all the aftershocks, we can’t really stay inside. We’re putting up tents to receive the patients.”
Marc-Sena Docteur, a 24-year old carpenter, grieves the loss of his girlfriend who died as a result of the earthquake, “Now I am left with a nine-month-old baby and with no aid at all. I’m still crying. I don’t know what I’m going to do without her.”
According to the Haitian Civil Protection Agency, a tsunami warning is not warranted and not in effect. The government will deploy seventy soldiers to the northern region, namely to the Nord-Ouest and Artibonite, to provide relief and safety to the affected areas.
Although the impact of the earthquake was also felt in the Dominican Republic and Cuba, the damage is limited to Haiti. Many homes in Haiti have been covered in rubble and others have been rendered uninhabitable. Pierre Jacques Baudre, a farmer, expressed his fear of returning to his house with his seven children, stating “the house can fall at any time.”
This earthquake is one of the largest tremors to strike Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake hit Haiti with a magnitude of 7.1. Approximately 200,000-300,000 individuals lost their lives as a result of that earthquake and tens of thousands of individuals are still displaced today.
Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant gave a statement via Twitter, “Damage has been recorded mainly in the Far North. All my sympathies to the victims. The executive at the highest level is mobilized to provide appropriate answers. I call on the population to be cautious and calm.”
Dr. Paul Miclaude, a medical doctor working to treat victims of the earthquake, spoke of the obstacles they have had to face since the earthquake, “There was no electricity here, so we couldn’t receive the huge numbers of victims that came last night. It was really difficult for us to send them to another hospital. With time running out, some died here.”