The Haitian government has declared a state of emergency after over 200 people have died as a result of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the nation Saturday, August 14. At least 1,800 people were injured, according to Haiti’s Civil Protection Service.

The earthquake has reduced churches, hotels, and homes to rubble in the latest tragedy to hit the Caribbean nation. This is the second major event to rock the nation just over a month after the assassination of late President Joevnel Moise.

Reports from the United States Geological Department are that the 7.2-magnitude earthquake, which was followed by a series of aftershocks, struck 8 km from the town of Petit-Trou-de-Nippes, about 150 km west of the capital Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 10 km.

The tremor which was felt as far away as Cuba and Jamaica was potentially bigger and shallower than the magnitude 7 earthquake which rocked the nation in January 2010, killing thousands. A release from the Earthquake Unit at the University of the West Indies confirmed the quake was felt in Portland, St. Thomas, Kingston, and St. Andrew along with St. Catherine.

Deputy Director General at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) Richard Thompson says there was no reported damage locally. In regards to preparations in the event the island should experience a 7.2 earthquake, Mr. Thompson notes ODPEM and various stakeholder groups have been working assiduously in ensuring the necessary protocols are in place. He adds that Jamaica’s building infrastructure is also more robust in comparison to Haiti.

A release from the Opposition PNP extended condolences to the nation, recognizing that this most recent disaster will only exacerbate their challenges and pose a greater risk to the nation’s unstable political climate.

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