‘People are scared to go back into their homes’: Two dead, dozens of schoolchildren injured in Haiti earthquake

Officials said 191 homes were destroyed and 591 were damaged in one region

Louise Boyle
Senior Climate Correspondent, New York
Tuesday 25 January 2022 14:59
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Haiti earthquake: 14 days after 4

Two people have been killed and dozens of schoolchildren injured after back-to-back earthquakes struck Haiti on Monday.

The earthquakes created panic in southwest Haiti where a powerful tremor killed more than 2,000 people last summer. Monday’s events also came days after the anniversary of the 2010 disaster which left more than a quarter of a million people dead.

The first 5.3-magnitude quake, reported by the US Geological Survey (USGS), rocked the country’s southern peninsula, sending Haitians into the streets of Les Cayes.

USGS reported that the first earthquake occurred around two miles south-southeast of Anse-à-Veau, near the city of Les Cayes, in the Nippes region at 8.16am (EST). The shock was also felt in the capital Port-au-Prince.

Around an hour later, a second tremor of 5.1magnitude was registered about 2.5miles west-southwest of Petite Rivière de Nippes.

Haiti’s civil protection agency said two people died and dozens of schoolchildren were injured, adding that 50 people between the ages of 15 and 23 were in a state of shock and taken to the hospital.

Officials said 191 homes were destroyed and 591 were damaged in one region.

Yves Bossé, an elected official for the southern department of Nippes, told The Associated Press that one person died when the earthquake caused a landslide at a sand mine. He said homes were cracked and businesses shut down for the day.

“People are scared to go back into their homes,” he said.

Sylvera Guillame, director of Haiti’s civil protection agency for the country’s southern region, told AP that schools in the area also closed and sent children home as a precaution.

The location of a 5.3-magnitude earthquake hitting Haiti, 24 January 2022. Two earthquakes of 5.1 and 5.3 magnitude were recorded by the USGS within less than an hour with both epicenters few kilometers apart at about ten kilometres depth

On 12 January, Haitians gathered to mark the devastating, 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the country 12 years ago, killing an estimated 316,000 people.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry and other government officials clad in black suits visited a monument topped by a large rock that commemorates the victims.

“We still have plenty to rebuild,” Mr Henry said. “January 12th did not destroy one house only. It destroyed the economy of the whole country. It’s going to take a long time to go back to the way we were before the quake.”

The quake destroyed more than 100,000 buildings and damaged another 200,000. Mr Henry said that billions of dollars were spent in the name of Haiti but that no one has proof of where part of that money went.

In August last year, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti, killing more than 2,200 people and destroying or damaging some 137,500 homes and leaving residents to sleep in the open air.

The repeated disasters have left Haitians struggling with hunger, an economic crisis and deepening political chaos. The country’s president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated at his private home in July.

Last week a Haitian-Chilean businessman considered a key suspect in Moïse’s killing appeared in US federal court and was accused of providing weapons to former Colombian soldiers charged with fatally shooting the Caribbean country’s leader.

Wires contributed to this report

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