US President Joe Biden on Saturday authorized an “immediate response” by the United States to the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti, causing extensive damage in the country’s south.
The White House said in a statement that Biden and US Vice President Kamala Harris held a video conference on Afghanistan with their national security team, where they also received information about the earthquake in Haiti.
“The President authorized an immediate response from the United States[to the earthquake in Haiti]and appointed Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power, as the senior US official responsible for coordinating this effort,” the short note says.
The White House did not specify what this response would be, and did not say whether any kind of assistance would be sent immediately to the Caribbean country.
Those responsible for reporting the earthquake to Biden, who was at the presidential residence in Camp David (Maryland) this weekend, are US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, and the president’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry said the earthquake left a “tragic” situation and caused “numerous loss of life and material damage” in several areas of the country, the poorest in America.
The quake struck at 08.29 local time (12.29 GMT) northeast of Saint-Louis-de-Sud in southern Haiti, and was at a depth of 10 kilometers, according to the US Geological Survey.
The agency said on its website that the geological agency had given this earthquake a red alert on the human damage scale, which means that “there is likely to be a large number of casualties and the disaster is likely to affect a large area.” .
“In the past, other events with this level of preparedness have required a response at the national or international level,” he warned.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, in English) issued a tsunami warning that it later triggered, confirming that the danger of this phenomenon marked by giant waves is over.
The quake had a slightly higher intensity than the magnitude 7 earthquake that left 300,000 dead in January 2010, the same number of injuries and 1.5 million casualties in Haiti.
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