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People walk past a home destroyed by the earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. Photo Credit: Joseph Odelyn/AP Photo
People walk past a home destroyed by the earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. Photo Credit: Joseph Odelyn/AP Photo

More devastation for Haiti: 7.2 magnitude earthquake claims hundreds of lives, leaves thousands injured

The earthquake happened early Saturday morning as the nation battles many other catastrophes, leaving more than 300 dead and over 1,800 injured with those…

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A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the southwest region of Haiti on early Saturday morning around 8:30 a.m., killing at least 304 people and injuring more than 1,800 with the toll expected to rise.

The quake — along with more than a dozen aftershocks — exerted significant damage, destroying a number of homes, churches, hotels, schools and buildings into piles of rubble.

The epicenter of the earthquake was near Petit-Trou-de-Nippes, about 78 miles west of capital city, Port-au-Prince. The tremor was so strong that it was also felt as far as Cuba and Jamaica. 

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he is rushing aid to the areas most impacted, and declared a state of emergency as a result of the massive number of casualties and damage caused by the major quake.

“When it comes to medical needs, this is our biggest urgency. We have started to send medications and medical personnel to the facilities that are affected,” Henry said in a news conference. “For the people who need urgent special care, we have evacuated a certain number of them, and we will evacuate some more today and tomorrow.”

President Joe Biden authorized an immediate U.S. response and named USAID Administrator Samantha Power as the senior U.S. official in charge of leading and coordinating the U.S. effort to help Haiti. 

The U.S. is one of several countries, including Argentina and Chile, that has offered help.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka, who is of Haitian descent reveals that she plans to donate her prize money in her upcoming tournament to Haitian relief efforts. 

This most recent quake adds yet another tragedy to a nation that has continued to see seen its fair share of tragedies in just the past several years.

Just over a month ago, the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in his home left the country in a state of political chaos and turmoil. This is in the midst of its continued battle against the pandemic, further overwhelming hospitals in the region.

As it pertains to natural disasters, Haiti has seen its fair share of them in recent years. This includes a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that killed 12 people and injured 188 back in October 2018. In October 2018, Hurricane Matthew killed more than 580 people and left over 35,000 homeless, four years after Hurricane Sandy killed 108, left 21 missing and more than 200,000 homeless.  

More than a decade ago, on Jan. 12, 2010, Haiti was ravaged with one of the deadliest natural disasters in the history of the Western Hemisphere, killing an estimated 250,000 and the country continues to recover from that 7.0 earthquake to this day. 

To add to its recent string of disasters, Tropical Storm Grace is expected to bring heavy rains and winds to the region, as well, early next week. 

Locally, the Philadelphia Haitian American Chamber of Commerce has started a GoFundMe account that will go towards recovery efforts. 

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