On the 12th of January, 2010 at the time of 21:53 UTC, Haiti was struck by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake (Richter Scale) , the most severe earthquake ever to occur to Haiti in over two hundred years. Further investigation revealed that the epicenter of the earthquake was right next to the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. Concerns for the seismic activity’s effects prompted a tsunami watch in the parts of the Caribbean Sea but was called off after further monitoring.
The magnitude 7.0 earthquake damaged a majority of the buildings in the capital. One of the contributing factors was the poor architectural structure of the buildings that were damaged or completely wrecked. Haiti, being a politically unstable country full of corruption and inadequate levels of economy both on the personal and national level also leads to the question of its reconstruction.
- The Presidential Palace of Haiti was damaged due to its second floor collapsing onto the first floor.
- The National Cathedral along with the Haitian Parliament building was completely destroyed.
- Obvious structural damage along with social and economic havoc.
- Cut-off food supplies, destroyed shelters and communications along with public transportation.
- Up to 50,000 dead, many more wounded and homeless, along with the increase of possible casualties.
- A UN building collapsed, leading to an approximate number of 200 UN personnel missing and five confirmed deaths on the 13th of January.
- Catholic Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, is also reported to be dead.
- According to Doctors Without Borders, three aid centers were damaged to the extent of inoperability which left more wounded without sufficient care.
- According to Barbara Lock from MedPie, casualties will in fact increase due to the “principles of a mass casualty event” for the following principles:
- “1) Defer treatment of people who will live regardless of treatment. This includes people with scrapes, bruises, lacerations, and minor broken bones.”
- “2) Withhold treatment from people who are likely to die despite treatment given the medical resources available. This includes patients who can’t breathe on their own, people without a pulse, and sometimes people with truly catastrophic injuries and others, depending on the capacity of the medical system.”
- “3) Treat people who have a reasonable chance of living if treated, given the medical resources available. The most critical of these would be treated first.”
- The seismic activity may also end up to be more severe than the 2005 Tsunami in casualties.
The response of the world following the massive earthquake in Haiti was immediate. Including the promise of aid in the form of 100 million dollars and long-term help from President Obama and Former President Bill Clinton to Haiti, the UN will also be stepping in to help Haiti and perhaps continue their Haiti reconstruction projects that was disrupted by the earthquake. Google also responded by donating one million dollars to help organizations provide relief. UNICEF and CARE will also be taking part in the relief aid. Many organizations and countries have also pledged and have already given help to relieve the victims of the earthquake such as:
- The World Vision
- The Mercy Corps
- Brangelina (Jolie-Pitt Foundation) will donate 1 million dollars
- The Red Cross – 10 million dollars
- Ted Turner – 1 million dollars in donation
- Edeyo Foundation
- Republic of Korea - 1 million dollars
- United Kingdoms – 10 million dollars
- France – Three airplanes and a field hospital
- Canada – Pledged to donate 50 million dollars to Haiti and sent a 20-person reconnaissance team.
- UN World Food Program – 15,000 tons of provisions
- UN – 12,000 staff members are currently in Haiti.
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon – 550 million dollars pledged
- Cuba – 400 medical professionals
- The Chinese Red Cross – 1 million dollars
- China – Sent a 60-person search and rescue team to Haiti.
- Israel – Sent Elite Army Corps engineers and a field hospital.
- and many more individuals in America and the world, an example would be the mass texting of HAITI to 90999 to make a 10$ donation that goes entirely to Haiti’s relief situation.
American televangelist Pat Robertson gave a rather unwanted response to the Haiti earthquake disaster by insisting that due to Haiti’s founders swearing a pact with the Devil, the earthquake occurred killing thousands as divine retribution. Notorious for controversial clashes with ‘mainstream Christianity’, Haitians nevertheless responded by saying that it is nonsense along with other retorts that pummeled Robertson’s response.
The people of Haiti are hanging on as best as they can. Hundreds of corpses lie in mass-graves, thousands of the dead yet to be seen and buried, missing are yet to be found and the death toll is expected to rise even higher as relief is slowly oncoming. Electricity, food, water and shelter aren’t available to the majority of the people yet hope in the embodiment of Haitian women who went out on the capital’s streets as of 1/15/10 sang and chanted showing optimism, showing that the world in one of its biggest humanitarian efforts has touched the peoples’ hearts in Haiti.
What Can _____ Do To Help?
Fill in the blank; We, You, Them, He, She, a country, another organization, a community. You can help by donating to the many available relief funds and organizations. Of course you can’t or don’t need to donate millions of dollars, but at least a dollar will do. Remember, there are countless others who are donating at least a dollar, if you do the math that is a hefty sum. Why should you care? You are probably hundreds or thousands of miles away and free from thetroubles of Haiti and the world. However, we should then, at least care enough to be human.
- Bera Te.