Biden authorizes US response to Haiti following fatal 7.2-magnitude earthquake

President Joe Biden has authorized U.S. aid for Haiti following a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck off the nation’s coast Saturday morning that left nearly 30 dead, according to authorities.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were briefed on the matter by the national security adviser and the secretary of state Saturday, after which the president authorized an immediate response and named USAID Administrator Samantha Power as the senior official who would coordinate the effort.

The earthquake, whose epicenter was about 7.5 miles northeast of the coastal city of Saint-Louis-du-Sud, hit at approximately 8:29 a.m. local time, according to the United States Geological Survey. At least 29 deaths and several damaged buildings have been reported in cities near the epicenter, and the USGS estimates that “high casualties are probable and the disaster is likely widespread.”

Some in the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince, located about 78 miles east of the fault zone, reported feeling the quake, but significant damage there has not been reported.

Ralph Simon, a radio station owner in the southwestern city of Jeremie, said homes and other buildings were leveled or damaged and that he saw two corpses in the rubble.

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