A massive earthquake hit western Haiti on Saturday. The US Seismological Service USGS keep in mind that the quake, with a power of 7.2, has caused many casualties. The exact situation in the area is still unclear. According to the Haitian authorities, there have been deaths, but it is not yet known how many. Interim President Ariel Henry is talking about “few” casualties and “massive damage”.
According to USGS, the epicenter of the earthquake was more than 150 kilometers west of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. The first photos of collapsed buildings have now appeared on social media. It is unclear where exactly they were taken.
9:36 AM – The situation actuall de la cité des poètes pic.twitter.com/hhdgMMZGDh
— Ralph Simon (@RalphSimon13) August 14, 2021
With a magnitude of 7.2, the earthquake is said to be stronger than the quake that wreaked havoc on the Caribbean island in 2010. That earthquake had a magnitude of 7.0 and claimed at least 160,000 victims, but may have killed more than 200,000 people. Based on the strength, relatively shallow depth and location of Saturday’s earthquake, USGS expects “a high number of casualties.” “The disaster is likely to be widespread,” the agency said.
The difference with the earthquake of eleven years ago is that the epicenter was much closer to Port-au-Prince. Nearly 1 million people live in that densely populated city, roughly one-tenth of the Haitian population. The damage in the capital at the time was extensive.
In Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, it has been politically very turbulent recently. In early July, foreign mercenaries shot and killed President Jovenel Moïse in his official residence. Moïse had ties with the armed gangs that, according to experts, in practice control the country.