PORT-AU-PRINCE/HAVANA — A major earthquake struck western Haiti on Saturday, sending shock waves across the Caribbean, where people fled their homes for fear that buildings might collapse, and sparking a regional tsunami warning.
The magnitude 7.2 earthquake quake struck 8 km (5 miles) from the town of Petit Trou de Nippes, about 150 km west of the capital Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 10 km, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
That made the earthquake bigger and shallower than the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck Haiti 11 years ago, killing tens if not hundreds of thousands of people, flattening buildings and leaving many homeless.
While there were no official reports yet in Haiti of injuries or deaths, images posted on social media – which Reuters was not immediately able to verify – showed homes and part of a church in the nearby town of Jeremie reduced to rubble.
“Everyone is really afraid. It’s been years since such a big earthquake,” said Daniel Ross, a resident in the eastern Cuban city of Guantanamo, adding that his home stood firm but the furniture shook.
Cuban authorities said there were no reports yet of material damage, deaths or injuries.
In Jamaica, residents also felt the quake.
“I feel it, man. It wake me up. My roof kind of make some noise,” said Danny Bailey, 49, in Kingston.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) also reported a quake in the region, saying it was magnitude 7.6, while Cuba’s seismological center said it registered a magnitude of 7.4.
The U.S. Tsunami Warning System issued a tsunami warning after the quake.
Reporting by Andre Paultre in Port-au-Prince, Sarah Marsh in Havana, Kate Chappell in Kingston and Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru and Frances Kerry in London; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, Daniel Flynn and Matthew Lewis