US President Joe Biden on Saturday authorized an “immediate response” by the United States to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti, causing enormous damage in the south of the country.
Biden and US Vice President Kamala Harris held a video conference on Afghanistan with their national security team, in which they also received information about the earthquake in Haiti, the White House explained in a statement.
“The president authorized an immediate response from the United States (to the earthquake in Haiti), and appointed the administrator of USAID (the US agency for development), Samantha Power, as the senior US official in charge of coordinating this effort,” says the short note.
The White House did not specify what that response will consist of and did not clarify whether any type of assistance will be sent immediately to the Caribbean country.
Those in charge of reporting on the earthquake to Biden, who is this weekend at the presidential residence in Camp David (Maryland), were the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and the president’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan .
The earthquake left a “dramatic” situation and caused “several loss of human life and material (damage)” in several departments of the country, the poorest in America, said Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
The earthquake struck at 08.29 local time (12.29 GMT) northeast of Saint-Louis du Sud, in southern Haiti, and had a depth of 10 kilometers, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS, en English).
That geological agency assigned this earthquake a red alert on its human damage scale, which means that “it is likely that there will be a high number of victims and it is likely that the disaster will affect a large area,” it said on its website.
“In the past, other events with this level of alert have required a response at the national or international level,” he warned.
The US National Oceans and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA, in English) issued a tsunami alert that it later raised, determining that the threat of this phenomenon characterized by giant waves had passed.
The earthquake had an intensity slightly higher than the magnitude 7 earthquake that in January 2010 left 300,000 dead, the same number of injuries and 1.5 million victims in Haiti. EFE