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BREAKING: Haiti devastated by 7.2 magnitude earthquake

The earthquake was more powerful than the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 that killed more than 200,000 people and caused billions of dollars in damage.

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Alex Anas Ahmed Calgary AB
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A major earthquake in Haiti left the island nation in a ruinous state on Saturday morning. The country remains on the path to recovery following a devastating earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands in 2010.

The Daily Wire reported the 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Haiti at a depth of seven miles and was felt hundreds of miles away, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The earthquake was more powerful than the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 that killed more than 200,000 people and caused billions of dollars in damage.

"Two cities, Les Cayes and Jeremie, located in Haiti’s southern peninsula, have reported major devastation with people caught under rubble and buildings collapsed," The New York Times reported. "Phone lines were down in Petit Trou de Nippes, the epicentre of the quake. No news emerged immediately from that city, leaving Haitian officials to fear for the worst. The extent of the damage and casualties is not yet known."

The USGS estimated thousands of fatalities and added that "High casualties are probable, and the disaster is likely widespread." Significant damage to Haiti’s economy is also likely this time around, with economic losses estimated to be 0-3 percent of its GDP.

Much of the population resides in vulnerable structures, too fragile to withstand earthquake shaking and landslides, though resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are mud wall and adobe block construction. Recent earthquakes also caused secondary hazards, including landslides.

A resident said the earthquake appeared to be the "equivalent of" the earthquake in 2010.

"The USGS has recorded at least three additional quakes after the large shock: a magnitude 5.2 quake some 12 miles from Cavaillon, a magnitude 4.1 quake about 5 miles of Petit Trou de Nippes, and a magnitude 4.4 quake about 2 miles from Aquin" The Miami Herald reported. "All originated near the epicentre of the first Saturday morning earthquake. Aftershocks are a common occurrence following big earthquakes."

Haiti currently faces Tropical Storm Grace and is still reeling after the nation’s president, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated last month.

"I woke up and didn’t have time to put my shoes on," said a resident of Port-au-Prince. "We lived [through] the 2010 earthquake, and all I could do was run. I later remembered my two kids and my mother were still inside. My neighbor went in and told them to get out. We ran to the street."

Another resident reported that "many houses fell" and that "many people" could be heard "screaming under the rubble."

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