7.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Haiti

By Adrienne Vogt and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, August 15, 2021
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11:58 a.m. ET, August 14, 2021

Haiti can expect tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain early next week

From CNN's Haley Brink

Tropical Storm Grace is currently on track to impact Haiti Monday into Tuesday next week. 

Haiti can expect tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain, which could lead to flash flooding Monday into Tuesday. The heavy rain could lead to localized flooding and mudslides across the region. 

A tropical storm watch was issued for the Dominican Republic at 11 a.m. ET by the National Hurricane Center. While a watch has not yet been issued for Haiti, one is likely to be issued later today or tonight. 

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours. 

Grace is forecast to strengthen over the next 24 to 48 hours and is expected to have sustained winds of 60 mph prior to interacting with the island of Hispaniola on Monday.

1:04 p.m. ET, August 14, 2021

Haiti aid group spokesperson says quake adds to crisis already facing the country

From CNN’s AnneClaire Stapleton

Jean-Wickens Merone, a spokesperson with World Vision Haiti in Port-au-Prince, a Christian aid group that helps with humanitarian aid around the world, said he is concerned that Saturday's massive 7.2 quake will cause further strain in Haiti as it faces other crises.

“We're concerned that this earthquake is just one more crisis on top of what the country is already facing — including the worsening political stalemate after the president’s assassination, Covid and food insecurity," he said.

In July, Haitian President Jovenel Moise was killed after a group of "professional killers" stormed his private residence. His assassination stunned the country and shocked regional leaders

Merone said he felt the shaking from Saturday's quake. 

“In the beginning I didn’t think of an earthquake. I felt a shake but as it lasted more than five to ten seconds, I realized it was an earthquake. Both sides of the house was shaking. I wasn’t panicked. I realized it would take seconds to get out of house and it was best to let it pass," Merone said.

11:45 a.m. ET, August 14, 2021

Damage from earthquake seen in Haiti's Les Cayes

Damage from Saturday's 7.2 magnitude earthquake is already being seen in some neighborhoods in Haiti.

Photos from Les Cayes, Haiti, show damaged buildings and rubble in the streets.

This is what some of the damage in Les Cayes looks like:

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11:35 a.m. ET, August 14, 2021

Haiti's prime minister is traveling to areas hit hardest by earthquake

From CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry is currently en route to the most devastated areas of the country, according to his official Twitter account.

This is the first major humanitarian disaster for Henry since taking office after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7. 

He has already mobilized the entire government to assess and help with the situation, he tweeted.

“Following the earthquake that caused enormous damage in the South, Grand'Anse and Nippes, I have already mobilized the entire government team to adopt all necessary measures as a matter of urgency,” the tweet read.

11:05 a.m. ET, August 14, 2021

Here's how the 7.2 magnitude earthquake today compares to Haiti's 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010

From CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton

The epicenter of today’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake near Haiti is approximately 60 miles west of the fatal 2010 Haiti earthquake, according to CNN supervising meteorologist Brandon Miller. 

The devastating 2010 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti struck on Jan. 12, 2010. The death toll from that quake is estimated at 220,000-300,000 people, with an additional 300,000 injured. One and a half million people were initially displaced, and more than 32,000 remain displaced as of January 2020.

Today’s quake was farther away from the capital of Port-au-Prince and the most populated areas in Haiti.

Initial CNN weather calculations show about 2.5 million people living within 50 miles or so from the epicenter. For comparison, the 2010 quake had roughly 6.5 million people living within 50 miles.

Construction of many buildings in Haiti "just does not hold up to these kind of earthquakes," said CNN's Patrick Oppmann, reporting from Cuba.

"Haiti is just not a country that is set up to respond to this kind of event. They needed a lot of help after the 2010 quake. You suspect that they will need help again. In the middle of a pandemic, that is going to be even more complicated," Oppmann said.

10:46 a.m. ET, August 14, 2021

Tsunami threat in Haiti has passed

The tsunami threat from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the Haiti region has passed and there is no further tsunami threat, according to the US Tsunami Warning System.

The US Geological Survey estimates "high casualties" and widespread disaster in Haiti following the massive quake.

10:45 a.m. ET, August 14, 2021

Have you been affected by the Haiti earthquake? Let us know.

The US Geological Survey is estimating "high casualties" and widespread disaster in Haiti following a magnitude 7.2 earthquake Saturday morning.

10:50 a.m. ET, August 14, 2021

Aftershocks could cause more damage after initial quake, CNN meteorologist says

People navigate through the rubble in Les Cayes, Haiti, on August 14.
People navigate through the rubble in Les Cayes, Haiti, on August 14. (JCOM Haiti)

Following a 7.2 magnitude earthquake near Haiti, CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said aftershocks will be a concern going forward.

A 5.2 magnitude aftershock occurred 17 km (10 miles) from Chantal, Haiti, earlier this morning, according to the US Geological Survey.

Structures are now compromised from the initial quake, Chinchar said, and "more buildings could start to sustain damage even if those aftershocks are not as strong."

The earthquake this morning, which was 10 kilometers deep (6 miles deep), is considered a shallow quake, Chinchar explained.

"The population that felt it, you have over half a million people that felt very strong shaking and five million people that felt moderate shaking, not just in Haiti but some of the surrounding areas. We are likely to see economic losses around this area, mostly dealing with the structures that are there," Chinchar said.

11:40 a.m. ET, August 14, 2021

Tropical Storm Grace could impact Haiti region next week

From CNN's Aya Elamroussi and Haley Brink

Tropical Storm Grace could hit the Haiti region from Monday into Tuesday next week.

Grace became the seventh named storm of the season on Saturday. Earlier a tropical depression, Grace strengthened to tropical storm status about 400 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Hurricane Center.

On the current forecast track, the center of Grace is expected to move over the Leeward Islands Saturday night, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Sunday and the Dominican Republic on Monday.