The U.S. deployed search and rescue teams to help find survivors among the debris of collapsed buildings in Haiti as the death toll soars from Saturday’s massive earthquake.
At least 1,297 people were killed after the 7.2-magnitude quake struck off Haiti’s coast, according to the nation’s civil protection agency. The quake was followed by a series of aftershocks, and Tropical Storm Grace is forecast to hit the crisis-prone nation on Monday.
The quake hit 7.5 miles northeast of the town of Saint-Luis du Sud on the country’s southwestern Tiburon Peninsula.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry declared a state of emergency, and pledged to “mobilize all the resources of my administration to help victims.”
The quake and the aftershocks damaged churches, hotels, hospitals and homes. It also caused a large landslide that blocked the main road from Les Cayes to Jeremie on the southwestern tip of the island. The nation was still in shock following the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
The tremor took place on the same fault line that caused the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
“Today’s earthquake is yet another setback for Haiti on top of political instability and worsening violence, Covid-19 and rising food insecurity,” Cara Buck, the acting Haiti director of the aid agency Mercy Corps, said in a statement from Port-au-Prince.