Magnitude 7.0 earthquake hits Haiti

A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale shook Haiti on Tuesday, causing several buildings to collapse in the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation and leading to an unknown number of fatalities, officials and witnesses said.

The earthquake was centered just 10 miles southwest of the crowded and impoverished capital of Port-au-Prince. Making matters worse, the earthquake was relatively shallow at a depth of five miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Shallow earthquakes can cause more damage.

President Obama reacts to Haiti’s earthquake.“My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by this earthquake. We are closely monitoring the situation and we stand ready to assist the people of Haiti.”

Within minutes of the original tremor, two aftershocks rolled through the area, measuring 5.9 and 5.5 on the Richter scale.

A tsunami warning has been issued for a number of nearby Carribean countries including Jamaica, the Bahamas and Cuba.

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