At least 304 people died and hundreds were injured after a major earthquake struck southwestern Haiti.

Churches, hotels, schools and homes were reduced to rubble in the already impoverished Caribbean nation.

United States Geological Survey said that the 7.2-magnitude quake which was followed by a series of aftershocks, struck 8 km (5 miles) from the town of Petit Trou de Nippes, about 150 km west of the capital Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 10 km.

Haiti’s Civil Protection service said the preliminary death toll stood at 304, with at least 1,800 injured and more people unaccounted for.

At least 949 homes, seven churches, two hotels and three schools had been destroyed, it said. A further 723 homes, one prison, three health centres and seven schools had been damaged although there was no major damage to port, airport or telecoms infrastructure.

Preliminary rescue operations by emergency teams and ordinary citizens had enabled many people to already be recovered from the debris.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who flew over the region to survey the damage, declared a month-long state of emergency.


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