Magnitude 5.9 natural disaster hits northern Haiti

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Another 30 were injured in Gros-Morne.

The Miami Herald said however that at least seven people had been killed.

A powerful 5.9 quake off the coast of Haiti has damaged some structures, according to the country's Civil Protection.

The quake and its aftershocks set off panic in some neighborhoods, but President Jovenel Moïse and other leaders called for calm.

The tremor rattled the capital Port-de-Prince, sparking emotion among residents still reeling from the massive 2010 quake that left at least 200,000 people dead and 300,000 more wounded.

Another said: "I was sleeping but I felt things moving.".

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She said that about 500 students would not be able to return to school on Monday.

A local official said at least eight people died in the northern coast near the epicentre of the magnitude 5.9 quake, which struck at a depth of 11.7 kilometres.

The quake was one of the strongest to hit Haiti since a 7.0 magnitude quake struck near the capital Port-au-Prince in 2010, killing thousands of people in the impoverished Caribbean country. After shocks were reported in the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Deep poverty and government instability have also rendered weaker homes and structures particularly vulnerable in earthquakes.

Rescue workers in Haiti said they were not looking for any more victims, but evidence of the quake's destruction was on view. Others tilted at precarious angles.

One said: "It woke the dogs up".

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

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

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

Homes and a hospital were also reported to have been destroyed by the quake. Parliamentarian Alcide Audne told The Associated Press that two of the deaths occurred in the auditorium.

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

General Coordinator of the Cuban Medical Brigade, Evelio Betancourt, said that two surgical teams were sent to support Haitian health personnel.

In 2010, a magnitude 7.1 tremor killed more than 250,000 people in Haiti.

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