September 28, 2021

What’s Happening in Haiti? Major Earthquake Kills Hundreds, Injures Thousands

A major earthquake struck Haiti early on Saturday, Aug. 14, destroying or damaging thousands of buildings, and leaving at least 1,941 people dead and thousands more injured or missing.

What happened in Haiti?

The magnitude-7.2 earthquake hit southern Haiti at 8:30 a.m. local time on Aug. 14. The epicenter of the quake was located about 7.5 miles from the southern town of Saint-Louis du Sud and 78 miles from the capital, Port-au-Prince, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It had a depth of 6.2 miles.

More than 60,000 homes were destroyed in the quake, and other buildings including hospitals, schools and churches were knocked down or damaged. The port city of Les Cayes, which has a population of about 125,000, was among the hardest hit, and hospitals there were overwhelmed by the number of injured.

What is the death toll?

As of Tuesday afternoon, fatalities from the disaster had risen to 1,941, most in the departments of Sud, Nippes and Grand’Anse, which occupy the western portion of the southern peninsula. At least 9,900 people were injured, and others are still missing, leading to fears that the death toll could rise further.

How has the U.S. responded?

Emergency aid has been flown into Haiti from a number of countries in the region including the U.S., Venezuela, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, which occupies the eastern side of the Caribbean island it shares with Haiti, called Hispaniola. The U.S. Agency for International Development on Sunday sent a 65-member search and rescue team, along with tons of specialized equipment, to join its disaster-response team already in Haiti.

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