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At least 11 dead in Haiti earthquake: govt spokesman

HAITI: A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck just off the northwest coast of Haiti late Saturday, killing at least 11 people and causing damage to buildings in the Caribbean nation, authorities said.

The epicenter of the quake was located about 19 kilometers (12 miles) northwest of the city of Port-de-Paix, the US Geological Survey reported.

Government spokesman Eddy Jackson Alexis told AFP that 11 people were so far reported dead, adding that a disaster response task force had been set up.

The quake struck at 8:10 pm (0010 GMT Sunday) at a shallow depth of 11.7 kilometers.

The tremor was felt in the capital Port-de-Prince, sparking emotion among residents still shell-shocked from the massive 2010 earthquake that left at least 200,000 people dead and 300,000 more wounded.

President Jovenel Moise took to Twitter to urge Haitians to “remain calm,” and said local and regional authorities were assisting those in need.

“The injured are being treated at area hospitals,” Haiti’s civil protection agency said late Saturday, noting that some of the injuries were sustained when people panicked after the quake.

Images of damaged homes and partially destroyed buildings were circulating on social media, but AFP was not immediately able to confirm their authenticity.

Haiti’s Nord-Ouest department is the poorest part of the impoverished country, with many isolated areas due to the dire state of the roads. Port-de-Paix is the capital of the department.

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