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    Major earthquake hits Haiti; death toll climbs to 225


    A major earthquake struck southwestern Haiti early Saturday, collapsing buildings and historical cathedrals in a nation still struggling to recover from a devastating quake that left more than 300,000 dead over a decade ago and was already in chaos after a presidential assassination last month.

    At least 225 people have died, according to Haiti’s Office of Civil Protection, which manages the island nation’s disaster relief. But the U.S. Geological Survey, issuing a “red alert” for the disaster, estimated fatalities could stretch into the thousands.

    “High casualties and extensive damage are probable and the disaster is likely widespread. Past red alerts have required a national or international response,” the survey said.

    The USGS placed the quake at magnitude at 7.2, as did the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, with the epicenter about 75 miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince. If verified, it would make the seismic event stronger than the 7.0 quake that left much of the city in ruins 2010. Tremors were felt all the way in Jamaica.

    There were reports of deaths, injuries and panic in several cities along the Tiburon, the country’s southwestern peninsula. It’s less densely populated than the capital but images posted on social media underlined that there could be many more casualties. Some showed collapsed homes and the Catholic cathedral turned to rubble in Les Anglais, which is part of Jeremie in the Grand Anse region.

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