M5.9 quake shakes northern Haiti

A woman stretches out her arms in prayer as balances a stone on her head as a form of penance during a Good Friday ritual in Ganthier Haiti

A magnitude 5.2 aftershock on Sunday afternoon sent people rushing into the street in Port-de-Paix, with many vowing that they would not sleep inside their houses that night.

The epicenter of the quake a magnitude of 5.9 has been registered 19 kilometers north-west of Port-de-Paix at 20H10 (00H10 GMT Sunday), has announced the american geological institute USGS.

After shocks were reported in the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

A local government representative said 152 people were injured in Port-de-Paix, and the most seriously hurt were taken by air ambulance to the capital Port-au-Prince for treatment.

President Jovenel Moïse urged the people to remain calm noting that "risk management system and the regional civil Protection directorates" have been activated to help the affected area. On Sunday morning he said that he was en route to Port-de-Paix and Gros-Morne.

In Haiti, officials have struggled to secure buildings and build quake safe homes because of deep poverty and government instability. In Gros-Morne, one bed was covered in rubble, while the exterior walls of some homes were cracked.

One said: "It woke the dogs up".

Some houses in the worst-affected areas were destroyed by the natural disaster, the agency said.

Meanwhile, dozens of people could be seen sifting through debris before hauling away rebar to recycle and sell.

Other rescue workers reported the collapse of part of a hospital and an auditorium as the quake hit on a rainy evening.

Saturday's quake was felt in Port-au-Prince but initial reports suggested it had not caused major damage there.

It was not clear if there was an event in the auditorium at the time, and no other details on the circumstances of the fatalities were immediately available.

A 7.1-magnitude quake killed an estimated 220,000 to 300,000 people in the Caribbean nation in January 2010.

The Bahamas government said it is in contact with The Bahamas' Embassies in Haiti and Cuba as it relates to the safety of Bahamians.

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