Tuesday afternoon, a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck near Haiti’s capitol Port-au-Prince, and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive estimates that over 100,000 could be dead. The initial quake was followed by over a dozen aftershocks of magnitude 5 or higher, adding to the unbelievable destruction. This is the most powerful earthquake to hit Haiti in 200 years.
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The streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti are flooded with the rubble of collapsed buildings and displaced people. Frantic Haitians are running between the heaps of the deceased, desperately searching for missing loved ones and hoping they are not trapped under the debris. The earthquake has destroyed much of the already fragile and overburdened infrastructure.
Communication and power lines are out, and the city is in an “unimaginable” state of chaos. A number of crucial buildings have collapsed, including schools, Parliament, United Nations headquarters, and the city’s largest hospital. In addition, the cities main prison has collapsed, and inmates have escaped.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and is in dire need of aid. Organizations such as Mercy Corps, who have experience helping earthquake survivors meet their immediate needs and recover what they’ve lost, are rushing to the scene to help this desperate country. The United Nations says it will immediately release $10 million from its emergency fund to aid relief efforts. France’s Medecins san Frontieres is also at the scene, but they say that they are only able to offer basic care, and a large number of people are in critical condition. People are being searched for and pulled from the massive piles of wreckage, but once they are freed, there is nowhere to take them for care–especially with the destruction of the city’s main hospital.
The Red Cross reports that they are in need of search and rescue volunteers, field hospitals, emergency health, water purification, and telecommunications. When massive disasters strike, people must band together to help those in need. Mercy Corps, the United Nations, and the other relief organizations will surely be a tremendous help, but the impact of the individual is truly what will make a difference in helping Haiti overcome this tragedy.
HAITI INFORMATION AND ACTIONS
Haiti’s reconstruction by Haitians living aboard For these noble goals, we ask that the government of the country in which we reside to task our pay check $10 per pay period for the next 50 years so that we can rebuild our dear Haiti.
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