Last Wednesday before heading to work, I was able to watch news on TV about the earthquake that hits Haiti and I was so saddened to see thousands of people died in the said disaster.
Haiti is considered to be the poorest in the Western Hemisphere with four out of five people living in poverty and more than half in abject poverty. There is concern that Haitian emergency services are unable to cope with a major disaster and the country is “economically vulnerable” by the Food and Agriculture Organization. Plus, it has been struck by multiple hurricanes which caused flooding and widespread damage in the country. Its long history of political and corruption has also added to the turmoil.
The country sits on a major fault line and scientists have warned for years that it was likely to be hit by a major earthquake.
And on January 12, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake has struck Haiti at 4:53:09 PM local time, according to U.S. Geological Survey website. The epicenter is reported to be 15 kilometers (10 miles) south west of the capital of Port-au-Prince. Most major landmarks were significantly destroyed including the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, the main jail, the headquarters of United Nations on Stabilization Mission in Haiti and most of the hospitals.
Rene Preval, the country’s incumbent president, described the scene in his capital as “unimaginable”. He said that he had been stepping over the bodies and hearing the cries of the trapped people underneath his country’s collapsed parliament building.
The earthquake was also felt in several surrounding countries and regions including: the bordering country in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), in Guantanamo (Cuba), in Kingston (Jamaica), in Caracas (Venezuela) and San Juan (Puerto Rico).
According to Amy Vaughan (a geophysicist), the United States Geological Survey had recorded 30 aftershocks with a 4.5 magnitudes and higher, on the night of January 12 till the early morning. Six of them was recorded in two hours after the earthquake had hit the country and 26 more was recorded nine hours after the devastating earthquake. The earthquake has also prompted a tsunami warning according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, but cancelled it afterwards.
Haiti sits on a large fault that has caused catastrophic earthquakes in the past, but this one was described as among the most powerful to hit the region in more than 200 years. It left the country in shambles, without electricity or phone service, tangling efforts to provide relief and 100,000 numbers of people feared to have been dead and could possibly increase to 500,000, according to senior senator Youri Latortue.
Appeals for international aid were issued, including the Ambassador Joseph and his nephew, singer Wyclef Jean who is also an ambassador for Haiti. Several countries responded to the appeals. The neighboring country Dominican Republic was the first country to give aid, easing tension that have existed between the 2 countries since the 19th century.
Charities around the world have launched massive fundraising efforts. Countries such as Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Greece, Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Iceland, India, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Switzerland, South Africa, South Korea, Republic of China (Taiwan), Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Venezuela, have sent various medical and rescue teams (often consisting of the nation's military and firefighters) to aid the relief effort.
The International Red Cross has announced that it has run out of supplies in Haiti and has appealed for public donations. Giving Children Hope has been working to get much-needed medicines and supplies on the ground. Partners in Health (PIH) is the largest non-governmental health care provider in rural Haiti; it oversees some 10 hospitals and clinics, all far from the capital and all still intact. PIH is currently serving the flow of patients from Port-au-Prince. The online gaming site Kongregate has also pledged to match the donation of any and all donors up until January 20th.
To donate $10 to the Red Cross, cell phone users can text “Haiti” and send it to the number 90999. Once it has been successfully send, the $10 amount will automatically be added to the donor’s cell phone bill.
Other organizations have set up similar systems by typing “YELE” and send it to 501501 to donate $5 to Yele Haiti.
For more other ways to donate and give help to Haiti earthquake victims, just simply click the following links that will lead you to the website who also accepts donations:
- Haiti Relief Fund, Inc.
- Haiti 911
- Convoy of Hope
- Support Disaster Relief in Haiti
- Haiti Earthquake Relief Effort