A powerful earthquake struck Haiti, killing at least 29 people and collapsing buildings in a country already in turmoil following the assassination of its president last month.
The magnitude 7.2 earthquake’s epicenter was about 7.5 miles from the southern town of Saint-Louis du Sud, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It had a depth of 6.2 miles.
“There is a lot of destruction. There are several dead,” said Jose Flecher, a local journalist in Les Cayes, a city of about 125,000 people about 20 miles from Saint-Louis du Sud. “The hospitals are overwhelmed. There are a lot of injured. People are gathering in the streets because they have heard there is a risk of a tsunami.”
At least three hotels and two churches were destroyed in Les Cayes, an important port on Haiti’s southern coast and the country’s tenth largest city, according to local residents. Among the fatalities was hotel owner and former mayor and senator, Gabriel Fortune.
The prime minister and interim president, Ariel Henry, said he planned to travel to the affected areas to evaluate the situation, and that he was mobilizing government resources to aid those affected.