According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake occurred before dawn near the southwestern coastal city of Jeremie at a depth of six miles (ten kilometers).
Eric Mpitabakana, a World Food Program official in Jeremie, told The Associated Press via telephone, "I thought the entire house was going to fall on top of me."
According to Haiti's Civil Protection Agency, two residences collapsed during the earthquake, and a vital route connecting Jeremie and Les Cayes was closed.
Frankel Maginaire of Haiti's Civil Protection Agency in Jeremie told the Associated Press that three fatal victims were discovered beneath a collapsed home where rescuers searched for additional victims.
He stated that several children were injured after panicking and fleeing.
A crowd congregated around a collapsed residence in an attempt to locate survivors in the rubble. At least one victim was carried out draped in a sheet.
Mpitabakana stated that his home was damaged and that he and his coworkers are considering sleeping outside if intense aftershocks occur.
"There were so many people out on the street, and there was a lot of panic," he recalled of the earthquake's immediate aftermath.
Claude Prepetit, a geologist and engineer with Haiti's Bureau of Mines and Energy, told Radio Caraibes that smaller earthquakes in southern Haiti earlier this year preceded Tuesday's major tremor.
Almost two years after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck southern Haiti and killed more than 2,200 people, Les Cayes sustained the most devastation from this earthquake. Some individuals who lost their residences last August continue to reside in camps.
Allen Joseph, program manager for the international aid organization Mercy Corps, stated in a phone interview that Jeremie's schools, banks, and other institutions remained closed on Tuesday and that rescue teams had previously been searching for survivors in the debris.
He stated that the organization was still assessing the situation to determine the required assistance.
"There was a lot of panic," he said. "Everyone was in a hurry to leave...The neighbors shouted, "Go, go, go!"
Paul Pierre, a courier for a Jeremie-based nongovernmental organization, told the Associated Press in a phone interview that he was waking up when he felt the house begins to shake.
"Everyone rushed outside with their children and infants," he explained. There were several collapsed homes.
Pierre stated that he remained composed and sought shelter until the tremors ceased, adding that he is accustomed to earthquakes.
In 2010, a magnitude 7 earthquake near Port-au-Prince, Haiti's densely populated capital, killed at least 200,000 people and caused widespread building destruction.
The earthquake on Tuesday occurred as Haiti struggles to recover from the weekend's devastating floods, which killed at least 51 people, injured 140, and flooded nearly 31,600 residences. Ariel Henry has solicited international assistance as premier.
Dr. Didinu Tamakloe, director of Project Hope, a U.S. aid organization, stated, "Disasters continue to strike Haiti from all sides." People did not have enough time to recover from previous catastrophes before being struck by flash floods, earthquakes, and landslides within days.