An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.9 struck southern Haiti early Tuesday. Authorities confirmed at least four people have died, and 36 were injured.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the earthquake occurred just before dawn near the southwestern coastal city of Jeremie at a depth of six miles.
“I thought the whole house was going to fall on top of me,” Eric Mpitabakana, a World Food Program official in Jeremie, told The Associated Press by phone.
Two homes collapsed in the quake, and a primary route that connects Jeremie and Les Cayes was blocked, Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency reported.
A search crew found three of the people who died under a collapsed house, Frankel Maginaire, with Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency, told the AP. Several children were hospitalized due to injuries.
“There were so many people out on the street and a lot of panic,” Mpitabakana recalled of the moments after the quake struck.
Claude Prepetit, a geologist and engineer with Haiti’s Bureau of Mines and Energy, spoke with Radio Caraibes, saying that Tuesday’s quake was from the smaller earthquakes that occurred earlier this year.
The quake struck almost two years after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southern Haiti, killing more than 2,200 people, with Les Cayes sustaining the most damage.
Tuesday’s earthquake comes as Haiti continues to grapple with heavy floods that took place over the weekend. 51 people were killed and 140 injured. Nearly 31,600 homes were flooded. Prime Minister Ariel Henry has requested international assistance.