At least 11 dead as earthquake hits northern Haiti

The 5.9-magnitude tremor is the strongest since a 2010 earthquake that devastated the impoverished country

A resident stands behind a fence made of tarp from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) at the Caradeux refugee camp, set up after the 2010 earthquake, in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Billions of aid poured in from donors in the years that followed the 2010 earthquake. Yet, the money has done little to address poverty. Haiti President Moise has aimed his strongest criticism at the way foreign aid has been administered in Haiti. Photographer: Alejandro Cegarra/Bloomberg
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An earthquake hit northern Haiti late on Saturday, killing at least 11 people and sparking an overnight scramble to help towns in the impoverished Caribbean country.

Police said at least seven people died and more than 100 were injured in Port-de-Paix on the northern coast near the epicentre of the 5.9-magnitude earthquake, which struck at a depth of 11.7 kilometres, according to the US Geological Survey.

Another four people were killed in and around the town of Gros-Morne further south. Rescue teams fanned out to help residents, many of whom are still dealing with the trauma of a devastating earthquake in 2010.

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

Port-de-Paix, Gros-Morne, the town of Chansolme and the northern island of Tortuga were among the areas worst hit, Haiti's civil protection agency said.

"The shock was felt across all departments of the country, giving rise to panic in several towns," the agency said.

President Jovenel Moise urged people to remain calm, and said he had ordered "all of the republic's resources" to be directed towards assisting recovery efforts.

Some houses in the worst-affected areas were destroyed by the earthquake, the civil protection agency said, and at least 135 people were treated for injuries.

The tremor was one of the strongest to batter Haiti since a magnitude-7 earthquake struck near the capital, Port-au-Prince, in 2010, killing tens of thousands of people. Saturday's quake was felt in Port-au-Prince but initial reports suggested it did not do major damage.


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