PORT-AU-PRINCE – At least 12 people died and 188 were injured in a magnitude-5.9 earthquake that struck northwestern Haiti on Saturday, followed by several aftershocks, including one measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale.
The latest aftershock – the one measuring 5.2 – had its epicenter very close to the location of the initial quake, striking at 4:00 pm Sunday 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Port-de-Paix and located at a depth of 10 km (6.2 mi.), the US Geological Survey said on its Web page.
Most of the victims of Saturday’s quake were located in Port-de-Paix, which is in the country’s Nord-Ouest province, with eight people losing their lives there, while in Gros Morne, in Artibonite province, three people died, along with one person in Saint-Louis du Nord, according to Haiti’s Interior Ministry.
The quake, which did not provoke a tsunami alert, destroyed several dozen homes in the most affected areas, according to preliminary figures.
Most of the injuries were attributed to panic and resulting accidents, a spokesperson for the Catholic Relief Services NGO told EFE, adding that the main hospitals in the affected area were reporting that they did not have the capacity to respond to the needs of the public.
Haitian President Jovenel Moise traveled on Sunday to the affected zones to evaluate the damage and coordinate aid efforts for the victims, a task made very difficult due to locally deficient infrastructure.
Saturday’s quake – which struck at 8:11 pm – had its epicenter located on the country’s northwest coast 20 km (12.5 mi.) north of Port-de-Paix and 175 km (109 mi.) from Port-au-Prince, according to the USGS.
In Gros Morne, an auditorium collapsed and a school was damaged, and in nearby Plaisance, the Saint-Michel Church was damaged.
Damage was also registered in Chansolme and on the island of Tortue, off Haiti’s northern coast.
The larger of the two quakes is one of the strongest to affect Haiti since Jan. 12, 2010, when a magnitude-7 temblor almost destroyed the capital, killing more than 300,000, injuring a similar number and making some 1.5 million people homeless.