Haiti Suffers New Earthquake as Death Toll Estimates Mount

World | February 22, 2010, Monday // 17:02
Bulgaria: Haiti Suffers New Earthquake as Death Toll Estimates Mount As the rainy season begins, Haiti earthquake survivors are still forced to exist in make-shift shelters, despite the efforts of international aid workers. Photo by BGNES

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has announced that another earthquake occurred on Monday with its epicentre some 35 km from Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince.

Measuring 4,7 on the Richter scale, the epicentre was out at sea, to the west of the capital, and was some 10 km deep. The quake struck at 04:36 am local time; there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

More than 217 000 people were killed in the country by a 7,0 magnitude quake that struck on January 12, government figures have showed.

However, the president of Haiti has claimed that the death toll could reach 300 000, as salvage operations continue to pull bodies from the rubble.

Speaking to a meeting of Latin American and Caribbean leaders at the weekend, President Rene Preval said: "You have seen the images you are familiar with the pictures. More than 200 000 bodies were collected on the streets without counting those that are still under the rubble."

"We might reach 300 000 people," he concluded.

If the official death toll was to reach that level it would make the earthquake one of the worst natural disasters in modern history, significantly worse than the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 which left over 200 000 dead.

Appealing for further aid on Sunday, Preval said: "The first rainy days that have started falling in Port-au-Prince have made it impossible to enjoy a dignified life and this is the reason for the request for shelters."

Last week the United Nations launched its largest-ever appeal for a natural disaster of GBP 930 M, claiming GBP 434 M had already been pledged.

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Tags: Haiti earthquake, Port-au-Prince, USGS, UN, Rene Preval, natural disaster
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