PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Emergency teams worked to provide relief in Haiti on Sunday after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake killed 11 people and left 135 injured.
The country’s civil protection agency said that at least seven people died in the coastal city of Port-de-Paix and three people died in the nearby community of Gros-Morne in the province of Artibonite. It said that the injured were being treated at medical centres in the northern part of the country.
Secretary of State for Communications Eddy Jackson Alexis said a preliminary report indicated that 11 people had died.
“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.
She said that about 500 students would not be able to return to school on Monday.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit at 8:11 p.m. Saturday night (001 GMT) and was centred 12 miles (19 kilometres) northwest of Port-de-Paix, which is about 136 miles (219 kilometres) from the capital of Port-au-Prince. The quake was 7.3 miles (11.7 kilometres) below the surface.
It was felt lightly in the capital, as well as in the neighbouring Dominican Republic and in eastern Cuba, where no damage was reported.
Rescue workers in Haiti said they were not looking for any more victims, although residents appeared to be jolted by the shake.
In Gros-Morne, some people walked along the street while looking up at the cracked exterior walls of homes. Dozens of others sifted through debris before hauling away rebar to recycle and sell.
The civil protection agency issued a statement saying that some houses were destroyed in Port-de-Paix, Gros-Morne, Chansolme and Turtle Island. Among the structures damaged was the Saint-Michel church in Plaisance.
Damage was also reported at the police station in Port-de-Paix, and parts of a hospital and an auditorium collapsed in Gros-Morne. Parliamentarian Alcide Audne told The Associated Press that two of the deaths occurred in the auditorium.
Haiti President Jovenel Moise indicated in his Twitter account Sunday that civil protection brigades were working to clear debris and help victims. He also said the government had sent water and food.
Impoverished Haiti, where many live in tenuous circumstances, is especially vulnerable to earthquakes. A vastly larger magnitude 7.1 quake damaged much of the capital in 2010 and killed an estimated 300,000 people.
The Associated Press