Photo Credit: Tamas JEAN PIERRE
Pray For Haiti: Island Suffers Major Earthquake, Over 227 Feared Dead
A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Saturday, and social media immediately responded by bringing awareness through the ongoing hashtag, Pray for Haiti.
According to a preliminary report, at least 227 people have died and hundreds of others are injured. The earthquake was about 7.5 miles northeast of Saint-Louis-du-Sud and 10 kilometers deep, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
The number of deaths is suspected to increase as Haiti’s authorities releases updated reports.
Haiti’s Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, declared a 30-day state of emergency. Henry lamented the deaths and said in a statement that he has already mobilized government resources to support the victims.
“I offer my sympathies to the relatives of the victims of this violent earthquake, which caused several losses of human lives and property in several geographical departments of the country,” Henry tweeted. “I appeal to the spirit of solidarity and commitment of all Haitians, in order to form a common front to face this dramatic situation that we are currently experiencing.”
US President Joe Biden authorized immediate aid to Haiti and named Samantha Power, director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), to coordinate actions to help Haitian population.
According to the Associated Press, a growing number of countries offered help, including Argentina and Chile, both preparing to send humanitarian aid.
“Once again, Haiti has been hit by adversity,” Chilean President Sebastian Piñera said.
Videos and photos posted on social media showed fallen buildings, facades and marquees in parts of the country. There are reports of destruction in at least two cities.
One hospital in the southern city of Jeremie, one of the cities that was most directly impacted by the earthquake, is overwhelmed with patients.
“There are a lot of people coming in— a lot of people,” an administrator at the Hospital Saint Antoine told CNN. “We don’t have enough supplies.”
The hospital has set up tents in its courtyard, the administrator said.
Rescuers are now running against time as Tropical Storm Grace approaches, and it is expected to hit the island of Hispaniola on Monday.
The country is still trying to recover from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, in 2010, when between 200,000 and 300,000 residents lost their lives.