A total of 15 people have died and another 300 others injured in an earthquake in northern Haiti, Reuters reported Tuesday. Multiple buildings have been damaged beyond repair.
Four people were killed near Gros Morne, including a woman who suffered a heart attack shortly after the quake. Eight others died in Port-de-Paix according to Haitian officials.
A total of 168 buildings have been destroyed while 2,280 others have been damaged, the Haitian government announced in a statement released Monday.
A school in Gros Morne was utterly destroyed leaving 720 students and 18 teachers without classrooms. Multiple buildings and homes in the area have also been destroyed.
A 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the northern coast of Haiti Saturday night around 8:00 p.m. local time. The area experienced aftershocks of 5.2 magnitude Sunday and 4.2 around midnight Monday morning.
Aftershocks have made it difficult for hospital staff to tend to the wounded. "With all the aftershocks, we can't really stay inside. We're putting up tents to receive the patients," said Polycarpe Saeely, Immaculate Conception Hospital's medical chief.
The hospital is reportedly working with limited resources, including electricity. A spokesperson for the International Federation of the Red Cross was unable to be reached for comment despite multiple attempts.
Geologist Susan Houghs says that building vulnerability is a huge issue. “Buildings are built with storms in mind and not earthquakes,” Houghs told teleSUR. “It’s the wrong approach because the buildings can collapse catastrophically.”
This is the strongest earthquake to hit Haiti since 2010 when a quake struck near the nation’s capital, Port au Prince, rendering one million people homeless. The exact death toll is still unknown. The Haitian government reported 300,000 people had been killed while other counts were lower.