Major Earthquake in Haiti

On 12 January 2010, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale destroyed vast areas of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and its surroundings. The earthquake’s epicenter lay only twenty-five kilometers from Port-au-Prince. The capital city, with its 1.2 million inhabitants, was completely unprepared for the disaster. For Haiti—one of the poorest countries in Latin America—the consequences of the earthquake were devastating: 220,000 dead, 190,000 destroyed houses, 3,978 destroyed or heavily damaged schools, 30 destroyed hospitals, and 19 million cubic meters of soot. The earthquake was followed by a tropical hurricane, making rescue operations even more difficult. Unhygienic conditions and shortages in medical supplies led to a cholera epidemic, which claimed the lives of another 5,000 people. In spite of international aid and countless personal donations, recovery has been slow and hampered by corruption and political instability.

Further Readings: 
  • Bayard, Dominique. "Haiti Earthquake Relief, Phase Two: Long-Term Needs and Local Resources." New England Journal of Medicine 362 (2010): 1858–61.