Thousands feared dead as devastating 7.2 earthquake rocks island

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Thousands are feared dead after a devastating earthquake in Haiti.

US Geological Survey has estimated "thousands of fatalities" and "tens of thousands of injuries in poor mountainous communities" in Haiti following the magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

Two powerful earthquakes with magnitudes of about 7.0 struck Alaska and Haiti just 30 minutes apart.

The strongest tremor, measuring 7.2, hit just west of Port-au-Prince Haiti just before 1.30pm UTC, but experts said a tsunami was not expected.

The other earthquake measured 6.9 and occurred south-east of Perryville, Alaska, just before 1pm UTC, the US Geological Survey said.

Online video clips show severe damage to buildings in the city of Jeremie, about 125 miles west of the capital Port-au-Prince, with piles of rubble in the streets.

"Everyone is really afraid. It's been years since such a big earthquake," said Daniel Ross, a resident in the eastern Cuban city of Guantanamo, adding that his home stood firm but the furniture shook.

Haiti's civil protection agency said homes had collapsed and there were fears of fatalities following the tremor, which was also felt in Jamaica.

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People living in Port-au-Prince said the earthquake caused buildings to sway.

The quake struck the western side of Haiti but was felt across the country, where a devastating tremor killed about 300,000 people in 2020.

The country had been recovering from a magnitude 7 earthquake closer to the capital 11 years ago that killed hundreds of thousands of people and flattened swathes of buildings, leaving many homeless.

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The US's tsunami warning system on Friday said there was no alert after the quake.

Ambassador at Large to Haiti Jimmy Jean-Louis tweeted a video of a person walking through dust and rubble filled streets in the country.

He wrote: "Another massive 7.0 earthquake in Haiti today."

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Former South Africa ambassador Patrick Gaspard tweeted: "Some photos emerging from the South of Haiti this morning where a major earthquake struck. Prayers for people in the towns of Les Cayes, Jacmel, Jérémie."

It comes weeks after President Jovenel Moise was assassinated.

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The Haitian judge assigned to oversee the investigation into the assassination on Friday withdrew from the case citing personal reasons.

Judge Mathieu Chanlatte, who was named to oversee the case less than a week ago, announced his decision in a letter, the dean of the Court of First Instance in Port-au-Prince, magistrate Bernard Saint-Vil said.

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