A major earthquake struck western Haiti on Saturday and was felt across the Caribbean where people fled their homes for fear that buildings might collapse. The 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck five miles from the town of Petit Trou de Nippes, about 7.5 miles west of Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince. Within hours the US Geological Survey (USGS) estimated 'thousands of fatalities' and 'tens of thousands of injuries in poor mountainous communities'. Jerry Chandler, who heads the country's civil protection agency, said: 'I can confirm there are deaths, but I don't yet have an exact toll.'
The USGS issued a tsunami warning, saying waves of up to ten feet were possible along the coastline of Haiti but it soon lifted the warning despite a series of smaller aftershocks that continued to shake the island. The quake - which had a depth of six miles - was felt in Cuba and Jamaica. It struck just over a month after Haiti's president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated by a team of gunmen at his home in Port-au-Prince. Moïse's murder shook a country already battling poverty, spiraling gang violence and Covid-19. 'Everyone is really afraid. It's been years since such a big earthquake,' said Daniel Ross, a resident in the eastern Cuban city of Guantanamo, adding that his home stood firm but the furniture shook. Port-au-Prince resident Naomi Verneus, 34, told the Associated Press she was jolted awake by the earthquake and that her bed was shaking. She said: 'I woke up and didn't have time to put my shoes on. We lived the 2010 earthquake and all I could do was run. 'I later remembered my two kids and my mother were still inside. My neighbor went in and told them to get out. We ran to the street.' Source
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