A magnitude 5.2 aftershock struck Haiti on Sunday, even as survivors of the previous day’s temblor were sifting through the rubble of their cinder block homes. The death toll stood at 12, with fears it could rise. The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the aftershock was located 15.8 kilometers north-northwest of Port-de-Paix, the city hard hit by Saturday night’s 5.9 magnitude earthquake. Sunday’s aftershock had a depth of 10 kilometers.
The aftershock caused panic on streets where emergency teams were providing relief to victims of Saturday’s quake, which toppled cinder block homes and rickety buildings in several cities.
Haiti’s civil protection agency said at least eight people died in the coastal city of Port-de-Paix and three people died in the nearby community of Gros-Morne in Artibonite province. Another person died in Saint-Louis du Nord, Communication Minister Eddy Jackson Alexis tweeted.
Among the dead from Saturday night’s quake were a 5-year-old boy crushed by his collapsing house and a man killed in a falling auditorium. Authorities said 188 people were injured.
Impoverished Haiti, where many live in tenuous circumstances, is vulnerable to earthquakes and hurricanes. A vastly larger magnitude 7.1 quake damaged much of the capital in 2010 and killed an estimated 300,000 people.
I feel like my life is not safe here,” said nun Maryse Alsaint, director of the San Gabriel National School in Gros-Morne, where several classrooms were severely damaged.
She said that about 500 students would not be able to return to school on Monday.
President Jovenel Moise urged people to donate blood and asked international aid agencies to co-ordinate with local agencies to avoid duplicated efforts. By Sunday evening the government didn’t provide an estimate of the damages.
It was felt lightly in the capital, as well as in the neighboring Dominican Republic and in eastern Cuba, where no damage was reported. In Haiti, officials have struggled to shore up buildings despite the two major fault lines along Hispaniola, which is the island shared with the Dominican Republic.