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Magnitude-5.9 earthquake hits Haiti, at least 11 dead

Relief efforts are under way as casualties climb in Haiti's northwest region.

At least 11 people have been killed when a magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck close to the northernmost tip of Haiti, roughly 20km west-northwest of Port-de-Paix.

Government spokesman Eddy Jackson Alexis told the AFP news agency seven people were killed in Port-de-Paix, the capital of Haiti's Nord-Ouest department, while four others were killed in the town of Gros-Morne, about 50km to the southeast.

The quake, which was felt across the country, struck at 8:10pm (00:10 GMT Sunday) at a depth of 11.7km.

The tremor was one of the strongest to hit Haiti since a 7.0-magnitude quake struck near the Port-au-Prince in 2010, killing tens of thousands of people.

In a post on Twitter, President Jovenel Moise, who faced calls for his resignation over the summer due to fuel price increases, urged people to remain calm after the civil protection agency reported the latest earthquake had caused outbreaks of panic in northern towns.

Moise also tweeted that Pwoteksyon Sivil, a civil protection group, was already working in Haiti's northwest.

The agency said Port-de-Paix, Gros-Morne, the town of Chansolme and the island of Tortuga suffered some of the worst damage and some houses were destroyed.

Le Nouvelliste newspaper said one person was killed when an auditorium collapsed in Gros-Morne. The tremor also damaged the facade of a church in Plaisance and a house next door collapsed, the paper said.


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