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At least 304 dead, more than 1,800 injured in devastating Haiti earthquake

At least 304 dead, more than 1,800 injured in devastating Haiti earthquake
The death toll from Saturday’s devastating earthquake in Haiti has jumped to at least 304, Haiti’s civil protection service has said. Hundreds more are injured or missing, and several towns across the island nation lie in ruins.

A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Haiti’s southern peninsula on Saturday morning, leveling buildings in multiple towns and settlements and filling streets with debris. Civil protection officials put the death toll at 304 as of Saturday evening.

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The grim pronouncement was made on the civil protection service’s Twitter account, which noted that more than 1,800 injuries have been reported so far.

The quake struck near the towns of Nippes and Jeremie, dealing significant damage to these locations as well as nearby Cayes and Grand-Anse.

However, damage was noted in the capital of Port-au-Prince – more than 150km (93 miles) away, and the shockwave was felt as far afield as Cuba and Jamaica.

The death toll will likely rise as search and rescue efforts continue. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) issued a red alert for estimated casualties, stating that “high casualties are probable and the disaster is likely widespread.” 

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has declared a state of emergency for one month, and said earlier that he would mobilize “all the resources” of his administration to help, while, in Washington, President Joe Biden has authorized a US response under USAID Administrator Samantha Power.

Saturday’s quake was similar in magnitude to the 2010 earthquake that devastated the island and left around 200,000 people dead. The 2010 tremor struck slightly closer to Port-au-Prince, whose metropolitan area some 2.6 million people call home.

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