Haiti’s quake is bigger and deeper than the capital’s 6.5-magnitude quake in January

Haitian politician shot dead, as violent gangs push country to the ‘edge of collapse’

(AFP) – A powerful earthquake shook Haiti on Tuesday, unleashing tidal waves of death and destruction to an impoverished country still reeling from a devastating 7.0-magnitude quake five months ago.

Three people were killed after a roadside blast in Port-au-Prince and dozens were injured in the capital’s collapsed church.

A spokesman for earthquake-ravaged Haiti said the quake struck at a depth of at least 28km (17 miles), far deeper than the capital’s 6.5-magnitude quake in January.

“It is a big quake and there will be a lot of injuries,” said Cesar Dias, a seismologist at the Geophysical Institute of Mexico, the country’s official geological agency.

“Many people in the capital area will die from the earthquake if they are not saved by health centres or other emergency services.”

The deadly tremors have killed 11 people in the past few days — with another seven killed in the capital on Monday — as gangs of mostly young men, known as “cocos”, rampaged through the impoverished country’s capital in an attempt both to collect money in illegal street protests and to kill their rivals.

The violence follows the worst unrest in Haiti’s modern history in January last year, sparked by the earthquake, when scores of people died after a series of protests.

A handful of people died in the January quake, which struck at a depth of only 6.5km (4 miles), but only one person died in Monday’s smaller quake, which struck the capital at a depth of 28 km (17 miles).

Dias said Tuesday’s earthquake was bigger and deeper, and was accompanied by a tsunami warning from the US geological institute.

“The earthquake is being felt throughout the capital area,” Dias said.

“The ground floor collapsed in the centre of the city, while the buildings opposite collapsed over rooftops. Many people were killed and many are buried under collapsed buildings.”

But he said the situation could still deteriorate further.

“There is a big chance that people who cannot go out will find themselves in a dangerous situation. Many will be injured, many will die.”

The US Geological Survey issued the warning of a possible tsunami near Port-au-Prince.

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