August 16, 2021 | 10:59 am CT
A M7.2 earthquake struck Haiti over the weekend
- On August 14th at 12.29 UTC, a M7.2 earthquake struck Haiti at 10km depth, about 75 miles west of the capital Port-au-Prince. The reverse faulting mechanism observed suggests that this event shares the same source as the 2010 M7.0 devastating earthquake that struck Haiti causing more than 217,000 deaths and heavily affected the capital.
- The 2021 event is more powerful but further away from the more densely populated regions than the 2010 event, which was around 15 miles West-southwest of Port-au-Prince.
- There are reports of widespread collapses of seismically vulnerable buildings, buildings engineered and constructed to modern seismic building codes are expected to have modest levels of damage.
About 400,000 people are at risk from severe ground motions
- Economic damage is expected to exceed 10% of Haiti’s annual GDP at $1.4Bn, a small percentage of this is expected to be insured.
- An estimated 400,000 people are at risk from severe ground motions, with significant areas prone to landslide and liquefaction.
- Most impacts are observed in the Southwest of the country. The largest city experiencing severe ground shaking and is known to be heavily affected, Les Cayes, has a population a tenth that of the capital, so overall impact is expected to be significantly less than the 2010 event.
- Current death toll is over 1,000 and is likely to grow significantly.
Rescue and relief efforts may be hampered by the track of Tropical Depression Grace
- This event comes at a time where Haiti is also still in recovery from the effects of Hurricane Michael in 2016 and a presidential assassination last month.
- Tropical Depression (TD) Grace is expected to track through Southwest Haiti, the region most affected by the earthquake. Currently windspeed predictions for this region are up to 39mph and heavy rain falls are expected to cause mudslides.
- A large impact of TD Grace will be the interruption of rescue and relief efforts, which may exacerbate the death and injured toll, where emergency services are already overwhelmed from the impacts of the earthquake.
Sources: CoreLogic, USGS, NOAA, Reuters
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