A major earthquake struck Haiti, a Caribbean country that killed at least 304 people and injured more than 1,800.
On Saturday morning, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the western part of the country, causing the collapse and damage to buildings such as churches and hotels.
The prime minister said there had been “widespread destruction” and declared a state of emergency for a month.
Haiti is still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the epicenter of Saturday’s earthquake was approximately 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the city of South St. Louis.
The densely populated capital Port-au-Prince, 125 kilometers away, and neighboring countries felt the effects.
Christla Saint Hilaire, who lives near the epicenter, told AFP, “A lot of houses were destroyed, some people died and some people were in hospitals.”
Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he had mobilized a team to carry out rescue work.
“The most important thing is to find as many survivors as possible under the rubble,” he said. “We learned that the local hospitals, especially the one in Les Cayes, are overflowing with injuries and fractures.”
Mr. Henry later announced that he had flown over to Case City.
US President Joe Biden has “authorized the United States to act immediately” to help Haiti. “
“At a difficult time for the Haitian people, I regret this devastating earthquake,” he said.
The United States Geological Survey previously warned that the earthquake could cause thousands of deaths and injuries. He also pointed out that there had been many aftershocks in the area, including one with a magnitude of 5.8.
Haiti News editor-in-chief Franz Duval said on Twitter that there were two hotels in the destroyed buildings in the city of Leagues. He said the local hospital was overcrowded.
He wrote: “On August 14, 2021 at around 8:30 am, the country in Haiti shook slowly and strongly over a long period of time.”
A reporter from Le Nouvelliste later stated that most of the churches and hotels on the south coast had collapsed or were badly damaged.
Archdeacon Abiade Lozama, director of Les Cayes Episcopal Church, told the New York Times, “The screams are all over the streets. People are looking for relatives or resources, medical aid and water.”
Naomi Verneus, a 34-year-old resident of the capital, Port-au-Prince, told the Associated Press that she woke up in shock and the bed was shaking.
“When I woke up I didn’t have time to put on shoes. We saw the 2010 earthquake and the only thing I could do was run. Then I remembered my two children and my mother were still inside. My neighbor came in and told them to get out. Street, “he said.
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti killed more than 200,000 people and caused significant damage to infrastructure and the economy.
Saturday’s earthquake occurred during a political crisis following the assassination of the country’s president last month.
Tennis star Naomi Osaka, of Japanese and Haitian descent, expressed her solidarity with Haiti on Twitter.
Speaking of the Western and Southern Open next week, the four-time Grand Slam winner wrote: “I’m going to be participating in a tournament this week. I will donate all of the prize money to disaster relief in Haiti. I know our ancestors. The blood is very strong and we will continue to ascend. “