Haiti suffers yet another major earthquake

Les Cayes, a beautiful, Victorian small town on the southwest coast of Haiti, was the focal point of a massive 7.2 magnitude earthquake at 8:29am on Saturday, 14 August 2021.

Shortly after, at 8:32am, residents of Santiago, in central Dominican Republic, were shaken awake or found the ground shifting under their feet. Something similar happened back in 2010 when Port-au-Prince was hit with a 7.0 quake, and over 300,000 persons perished in the crowded capital city. Over a million were left without shelter or even minimum basic services.

This time, the quake on the Enriquillo fault line struck an area that was not so densely populated, but early counts have passed more than a thousand fatalities and many more are injured.

Even though the Caribbean is not located in the “Ring of Fire” that circumvents the Pacific Ocean, the two earthquakes in Haiti are among the ten strongest experienced in the Latin America in the last 25 years. Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, El Salvador and Colombia were the areas that experienced the largest earthquakes, with Chile’s 8.8 monster in 2010 the highest on the Richter scales but the 7.0 in Haiti that same year was much more lethal and damaging to the country.

National Geographic highlights that construction in Haiti is inappropriate for a country that is built on the edge of the slowly shifting Caribbean plate. “The movements build stresses in a network of fractures that crisscross the island, which occasionally release pent-up stress in ground-rattling earthquakes. While the region’s quakes are not the most powerful in the world, their deadliness is magnified by Haiti’s abundance of concrete and masonry buildings that were not built to withstand earthquakes,” National Geographic explains.

“As the plates grind against each other, the forces produce a series of fractures that crisscross the region. Both the 2010 event and this latest quake—as well as multiple older quakes—occurred within one set of these breaks, which are known collectively as the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone,” reports National Geographic.

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Listin Diario

Listin Diario
National Geographic


16 August 2021