Magnitude 5.9 natural disaster strikes neighbouring Haiti


Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest country, has never fully recovered from the 7.1-magnitude natural disaster in 2010 that killed more than 200,000 people and left about one million people homeless.

Early reports coming from the country is that at least one person has died and a number of others were injured.

President Jovenel Moise took to Twitter to urge Haitians to "remain calm", and said local and regional authorities were assisting those in need.

The civil protection agency said early on Sunday that at least 135 people were being treated for injuries.

Haiti's civil protection agency said in a statement that it will soon deploy 70 soldiers to the Nord-Ouest and Artibonite provinces that were hardest hit, noting it already sent 14 soldiers along with nurses and doctors to the area over the weekend. Tens of thousands of people are still displaced as a result of the quake.

Impoverished Haiti, where many live in tenuous circumstances, is vulnerable to earthquakes and hurricanes.

Local newspaper Le Nouvelliste said one person was killed when an auditorium collapsed in Gros-Morne and that detainees were released from a damaged police holding cell.

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The quake, which was felt across the country, struck at 8:10 pm (0010 GMT Sunday) at a shallow depth of 11.7 kilometers.

"I feel like my life is not safe here", said nun Maryse Alsaint, director of the San Gabriel National School in Gros-Morne, where several classrooms were severely damaged.

A major worldwide relief effort followed the devastating 7.0-magnitude quake that struck the island in January 2010, leaving more than 1.5 million people homeless. After shocks were reported in the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

In Gros-Morne, some people walked along the street while looking up at the cracked exterior walls of homes. Others tilted at precarious angles.

Gros Morne: Residents stand looking at a collapsed school damaged bya magnitude 5.9 quake the night before, in Gros Morne, Haiti, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018.

Some houses in the worst-affected areas were destroyed by the quake, the agency said. Parliamentarian Alcide Audne told The Associated Press that two of the deaths occurred in the auditorium.