Sacred Heart church is damaged after an earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti on Saturday. AP Photo/Delot Jean

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On  Saturday morning, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, days before a tropical storm is expected to hit the country. At least 227 are dead and thousands are injured, the country’s civil protection agency says. The earthquake’s epicenter was 78 miles west of Haiti’s capital, Port Au-Prince said the U.S. Geological Survey.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry said that all government resources possible would be directed at helping victims, and announced a one-month state of emergency. Jerry Chandler, Haiti’s director of civil protection, told the AP that search and rescue teams will be deployed to the affected areas.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were briefed on the earthquake this morning, according to ABC News. Biden authorized an immediate U.S. response and tasked USAID Director Samantha Power with coordinating the efforts.

People stand outside the residence of the Catholic bishop after it was damaged by an earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.

AP Photo/Delot Jean

Haiti was previously hit by a 5.9 earthquake in 2018 that killed over a dozen people and in 2010, endured a 7.1 earthquake that killed an estimated 200,000. Some experts believe that while the impact of the earthquake will be tragic, it won’t be quite as bad as 2010, despite having a slightly higher magnitude, because the epicenter is further from Port-au-Prince. 

Tropical Storm Grace is expected to reach Haiti between late Monday night and early on Tuesday.

This post has been updated to reflect further reporting by local agencies of the number of people killed in the earthquake.

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