Powerful aftershock hits Port-au-Prince

A new earthquake shook the devastated Haitian capital on Wednesday morning, creating panic among survivors of last week’s quake camped out in the streets but apparently causing no new destruction. The powerful 6.1 magnitude aftershock at daybreak sent people running away from buildings and walls in the shattered city fearing a repeat of the magnitude 7 earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people eight days ago. “It felt really strong. Each aftershock is frightening. We feel it right here (pointing at his stomach) because after last Tuesday you never know how strong it is going to be,” said Lenis Batiste, camped out on some grass with two children.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday’s tremor was centred 35 miles (60 km) west-southwest of Port-au-Prince.

Desperate and hungry residents of Port-au-Prince have been sleeping outdoors since the January 12 earthquake because their homes were destroyed, or from fear of aftershocks. “Things started shaking. We were really afraid. People came out into the street,” said Victor Jean Rossiny, a 24-year-old law student, living in the street in the Petionville suburb. “We have nothing here, not even water.”

Fears of violence and looting have eased in Haiti as U.S. troops provide security for water and food aid deliveries, and thousands of displaced Haitians have heeded the government’s advice to seek shelter outside Port-au-Prince.

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