Shallow M5.9 earthquake hits Haiti, leaving at least 15 people dead and dozens injured


A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M5.9 hit Nord-Ouest, Haiti at 00:11 UTC on October 7, 2018 (20:12 local time, October 6). The agency is reporting a depth of 11.7 km (7.3 miles). EMSC is reporting M5.9 at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). At least 15 people have been killed and 300 injured. There are reports of significant material damage. 

The epicenter was located 18.7 km (11.6 miles) SE of Port-de-Paix (population 250 000), 19 km (1.8 miles) SE of Ti Port-de-Paix (population 34 657), 29.1 km (18.1 miles) Saint-Louis du Nord (population 11 849), 70.4 km (43.8 miles) ESE of Lenbe (populaiton 32 645), and 72.2 km (44.9 miles) SSE of Gonayiv (population 84 961), Haiti.

There are about 2 229 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

Some 50 000 people are estimated to have felt strong shaking, 310 000 moderate, 3 785 000 light and 21 861 000 weak.

At 03:00 UTC (23:00 LT), authorities confirmed 11 deaths and dozens injured.

An unknown number of houses in Gros-Morne, Port-de-Paix, Chansolme and Turtle Island have been destroyed or damaged. At least one was completely destroyed in Gonaïves and some others were damaged. Among the structures damaged was the Saint-Michel church in Plaisance.

Civil Protection Service urged people to keep calm and listen to official sources. There was no tsunami warning issued, they said.

This is the poorest part of the country, with many isolated areas due to bad road infrastructure.

On October 8, officials said the number confirmed deaths rose to 15 and the number of injured to 300. 40 homes have been destroyed.

The USGS issued a yellow alert for shaking-related fatalities and green alert for economic losses. Some casualties are possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Past events with this alert level have required a local or regional level response.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are unknown/miscellaneous types and wood construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Featured image credit: Laura Wagner

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One Comment

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