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Insured losses are forecast to total about $250 million from the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that struck Haiti on Aug. 14, according to an analysis Tuesday from Boston-based catastrophe modeler Karen Clark & Co.
Though a similar “shallow crustal earthquake” to the magnitude-7.0 quake in 2010 that devastated the island nation, the damages from this quake “are expected to be significant, although not as devastating as the 2010 event, which directly impacted the capital,” the KCC analysis said.
Damage includes “numerous hotels and churches on the southwestern coast” that were destroyed, as well as a major seaport in Les Cayes.
Construction practices on Haiti, largely unregulated, may exacerbate damages, KCC said. “In many cases, the structural types, member dimensions, and detailing practices are inadequate to resist strong ground motions.”
The quake struck at 8:30 a.m. local time along the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone, with an epicenter at a depth of about 6.2 miles, rupturing a more westerly segment of the fault compared to the January 2010 event.
The island of Hispaniola, which includes Haiti and the Dominican Republic, has experienced 12 magnitude-6.0 and larger and four magnitude-7.0 and larger earthquakes since 1900. Hispaniola is located at the boundary between the Caribbean Plate and the North American Plate and seismic activity in the region is very high, KCC said.
A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Aug. 14, destroying and damaging almost 30,000 buildings, NDTV reported citing Agence France-Press. The quake killed more than 1,200 people and injured nearly 6,000 others. The Caribbean nation is also facing the threat of Tropical Depression Grace, which is likely to bring torrential rainfall and flash floods on Aug. 16.