Relief efforts continue in northern Haiti as of Wednesday, October 10, following the 5.9-magnitude earthquake that struck off the northwestern coast of the country on the evening of Saturday, October 6. At least 17 people have been killed and the death toll could continue to rise; another 400 people have been injured and more than 7500 are said to be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. Nearly 400 homes have been destroyed and another 7500 damaged. However, no major infrastructural damage has been reported thus far.
At least 178 aftershocks have been recorded as of October 10, the strongest of which have measured 5.2 and 4.2 on the Richter scale. Further aftershocks are likely.
The government’s response has been criticized as slow, raising tensions; associated protests and violence cannot be ruled out.
The epicenter of Saturday’s earthquake was located approximately 20 km (12 mi) west-northwest of Port-de-Paix (Nord-Ouest department). Government forces, including the military, have been deployed to the worst-hit areas, including Port-de-Paix , Gros-Morne (Artibonite department), and Tortue island (Nord-Ouest).
Earthquakes are relatively common in Haiti, which sits along the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone. The country is still recovering from a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck in 2010.
Individuals present in the impacted regions are advised to be prepared for further aftershocks, adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities, and avoid all protests.
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