Haiti earthquake death toll rises to 304: Report

TEHRAN, Aug. 15 (MNA) – At least 304 people died and hundreds were injured after a major earthquake struck southwestern Haiti on Saturday, reducing churches, hotels, schools and homes to rubble in latest tragedy to hit impoverished Caribbean nation.

The 7.2-magnitude quake, which was followed by a series of aftershocks, struck 8 km (5 miles) from the town of Petit Trou de Nippes, about 150 km west of the capital Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 10 km, the United States Geological Survey said.

That made the temblor which was felt as far away as Cuba and Jamaica potentially more severe than the magnitude 7 earthquake 11 years ago that killed tens of thousands on the island, Reuters news agency reported.

This one - which occurred around 8:30 a.m. local time - hit farther away from the capital, however. In Port-au-Prince, it was strongly felt but did not appear to have caused major damage, according to Reuters witnesses.

Still, Haiti's Civil Protection service said the preliminary death toll stood at 304, with at least 1,800 injured and more people unaccounted for. Preliminary rescue operations by emergency teams and ordinary citizens had enabled many people to already be recovered from the debris.

At least 949 homes, seven churches, two hotels and three schools had been destroyed, it said. A further 723 homes, one prison, three health centers and seven schools had been damaged although there was no major damage to port, airport or telecoms infrastructure.

The area shuddered again late on Saturday when a 5.8 magnitude aftershock hit, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. It was not immediately clear what impact it caused.

MA/PR

News Code 177358

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