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Haiti earthquake death toll nears 1,300 as tropical storm approaches

This natural disaster hits Haiti a month after the country's prime minister was assassinated.

Updated: August 15, 2021 - 11:28pm

After a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Saturday, the death toll has risen to at least 1,300 people as Tropical Storm Grace is forecast to hit the island nation on Monday.

This latest devastating earthquake, which was also felt in Cuba and Jamaica, is Haiti's second in 11 years, as the 2010 disaster in Port-au-Prince killed tens of thousands, Reuters reported.

Saturday's earthquake hit southwestern Haiti the hardest, including the city of Les Cayes. A prison, hospitals, churches, schools, and hotels were damaged or destroyed.

Haiti has also been struggling with maintaining law and order as gangs have hit the streets following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise last month.

"We need to show a lot of solidarity with the emergency," said Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon who has been leading the country since Moise's assassination.

Tropical Storm Grace is expected to hit Haiti on Monday, complicating rescue efforts with heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

The U.S. is sending a 65-person urban search and rescue team with specialized equipment and vital supplies on Sunday, following a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) that was deployed Saturday, according to United States Agency for International Development (USAID).