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At least 304 people have died and 1,800 others were injured as buildings tumbled into rubble after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Haiti on Saturday morning. As hospitals have become overwhelmed with incoming patients, Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he was doing everything in his power to rush aid to areas where towns were destroyed.

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake jolts Haiti

Source: Anadolu Agency / Getty

 

The quake struck about five miles from the town of Petit Trou de Nippes, and about 78 miles west of the capital city of Port-au-Prince. According to CNN, a hospital in the southern city of Jeremie has been overwhelmed with intake since the disaster struck, and they’ve been forced to set up tents in their courtyard for the overflow. “There are a lot of people coming in — a lot of people,” an administrator at Hospital Saint Antoine said. “We don’t have enough supplies.”

First Lady Martine Moise of Haiti said in a statement,

“It hurts my heart for the kids, the mothers, the elderlies, the handicaps, my friends, and all the victims of this earthquake. My brothers and sisters, we have to put our shoulders together to come together to demonstrate our solidarity. It is our togetherness that makes up our strength and resilience. Courage, I will always be by your side.”

The search continues for many survivors especially in the town of Les Cayes, which was one of the most impacted areas. Local resident resident Jean Marie Simon, told Reuters, “I heard cries of pain everywhere I passed through.”

People in the town tried to pull guests from the rubble of a collapsed hotel, but as the sun set, they had only been able to recover the body of a 7-year-old girl whose home was behind the facility. “I have eight kids, and I was looking for the last one,” Jean-Claude Daniel said through tears. “I will never see her again alive. The earthquake destroyed my life. It took a child away from me.”

Henry declared a one-month state of emergency for the whole country and said he would not ask for international help until the extent of the damages was known. However, the International Red Cross and hospitals in unaffected areas are lending their support.

President Biden also stepped in and pledged USAID support. In his statement he wrote:

“The United States remains a close and enduring friend to the people of Haiti, and we will be there in the aftermath of this tragedy.” He also appointed USAID Administrator Samantha Power to coordinate the U.S. aide effort “to assess the damage and assist efforts to recover and rebuild.”

The Haitian Embassy in the U.S. responded to Biden’s message on Twitter.

Other countries have offered help, including Argentina and Chile, which said it was preparing to send humanitarian aid. ″Once again, Haiti has been hit by adversity,″ Chilean President Sebastian Piñera said.

By Saturday night, the island had experienced four aftershocks stronger than 5.0 and nine above 4.0. Claude Prepetit, a Haitian civil engineer and geologist, warned of the danger from cracked structures. He told The Associated Press,

“More or less intensive aftershocks are to be expected for a month,” he said, cautioning that some buildings, “badly damaged during the earthquake, can collapse during aftershocks..”

#PrayForHaiti is still trending on online as celebrities and community leaders lend their support and concern.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka tweeted that she’s scheduled to start a tournament next week and she plans to “give all the prize money to relief efforts for Haiti.”

Pro soccer team Miami FC tweeted Saturday that it, too, was looking for ways to help.

CNN has compiled a list of organizations accepting donations and will continue to update the link so you can help those affected by the crisis in Haiti. Click HERE to contribute.

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