A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti Saturday evening, just after 8 p.m. local time. According to news reports, at least 12 people have been killed and more than 160 injured.
The quake's epicenter was located about 12 miles northwest of the city of Port-de-Paix. It is among the strongest to hit the Caribbean nation since 2010’s 7.1 earthquake, which left more than 300,000 dead.
“I urge the population to keep calm, following the passage of the earthquake whose epicenter is located in the northwest coast,” Haitian President Jovenel Moïse posted on Twitter. “The [disaster] risk management system and the regional branches of the Civil Protection are on standby to assist the inhabitants of the affected areas.”
According to initial assessments, dozens of homes and buildings have been damaged by the earthquake, which so terrified staff at the government-owned Immaculee de Port-de-Paix hospital that they fled, forcing injured residents to seek care at private hospitals. As of sunrise Sunday, search and rescue teams are hard at work, though flooding from recent rains is hampering some of those efforts.
UNICEF is in close touch with Haiti’s civil protection agency and other partners and ready to meet the needs of Haiti’s children and their families.
When it comes to natural disasters, Haiti ranks as the world's fifth most vulnerable country.
Two years ago this week, Hurricane Matthew leveled Haiti's southern coast, creating a new crisis in a country where UNICEF has helped children recover from a deadly string of disasters. In the aftermath of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake (pictured above), UNICEF, Haiti's long-term development partner for decades, scaled up to meet the needs of children. The following year, children's lives were endangered again when a terrifying cholera epidemic swept the struggling nation. UNICEF was on the ground providing health, water and sanitation, education and protection during all these crises.
Last year, UNICEF responded to 337 humanitarian emergencies in 102 countries — hurricanes, earthquakes, refugee crises and conflicts across the globe. With more than 13,000 staff worldwide and 350 warehouses globally, UNICEF stands ready to provide food, water, shelter, protection and health care — before, during and after a crisis.
Please make a tax-deductible donation to UNICEF USA to support children and their families in disaster and emergency situations. $50, $100, $500 or any amount you can give will help save kids' lives.