Haiti quake. AFP

The death toll from the earthquake that struck northwest Haiti over the weekend has risen to 17, with nearly 350 others injured, the interior ministry said Tuesday.

Nine people were killed in the coastal city of Port-de-Paix, the closest major town to the quake’s epicentre.

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Seven more died in Gros-Morne, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) to the southeast and one was killed in the city of Saint-Louis du Nord, the ministry said.

Emergency personnel deployed to the quake zone have said roughly 7,800 homes were either destroyed or damaged in the 5.9-magnitude tremor, according to the authorities.

In Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, building codes are often not respected, meaning that an earthquake of even a moderate size can result in fatalities and level buildings.

The country’s Nord-Ouest department, where Port-de-Paix is located, is the worst-off part of Haiti, with many areas isolated due to the dire state of the roads.

The quake and several aftershocks were felt as far away as the capital Port-au-Prince, sparking fear among residents still reeling from the massive 2010 earthquake that left at least 200,000 people dead.