At least 2 killed, 50 injured after M5.3 earthquake and series of aftershocks hit Haiti


A moderately strong earthquake registered by the USGS as M5.3 hit southwestern Haiti at 13:16 UTC on January 24, 2022, at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). Dozens of aftershocks followed, with magnitudes ranging up to 5.1.

The epicenter was located 4.8 km (3 miles) S of Anse-à-Veau (population 1 731), 26.1 km (16.2 miles) W of Miragoâne (population 89 202), 49.8 km (31 miles) W of Tigwav (population 117 504), 52.4 km (32.5 miles) NE of Les Cayes (population 125 799), and 59.9 km (37.2 miles) W of Grangwav (population 49 288), Haiti.

75 000 people are estimated to have felt very strong shaking, 114 000 strong, 189 000 moderate, and 2 882 000 light.

The USGS issued an Orange alert for shaking-related fatalities — significant casualties are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread. Past events with this alert level have required a regional or national level response.

A Yellow alert was issued for economic losses — some damage is possible. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of Haiti.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are extremely vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are mud wall and informal (metal, timber, GI etc.) construction.

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

Image credit: TW/SAM, Google

According to Haiti's civil protection agency, at least 2 people have died and dozens of schoolchildren were injured. 50 people between the ages of 15 and 23 were in a state of shock and taken to hospital.

At least 191 homes were destroyed and another 591 damaged.

In addition, the road in St-Sauver and Petite-Riviere-de-Nippes and the Teinturier bridge were also damaged.

The first fatality took place in Fonds-des-Negres during a landslide at a sand mine. The second fatality was reported in a small coastal town of Anse-a-Veau when a wall collapsed.

This region was hit by a M7.2 earthquake in August 2021, claiming the lives of more than 2 200 people and destroying or heavily damaging more than 100 000 homes.

On January 12, 2010, the region was hit by a devastating M7.0 quake which claimed the lives of more than 200 000 people and left 1.5 million homeless.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google


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