It was also felt in several surrounding countries and regions, including Cuba (MM III in Guantánamo), Jamaica (MM II in Kingston), Venezuela (MM II in Caracas), Puerto Rico (MM II–III in San Juan), and the bordering Dominican Republic (MM III in Santo Domingo). According to estimates from the USGS, approximately 3.5 million people lived in the area that experienced shaking intensity of MM VII to X, a range that can cause moderate to very heavy damage even to earthquake-resistant structures.
The damage from the quake was more severe than for other quakes of similar magnitude due to the shallow depth of the quake. 
The quake occurred in the vicinity of the northern boundary where the Caribbean tectonic plate shifts eastwards by about 20 millimetres (0.79 in) per year in relation to the North American plate. The strike-slip fault system in the region has two branches in Haiti, the Septentrional-Oriente fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault in the south; both its location and