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Eng Course- Haiti Earthquake: Crisis and Response (History Complete)- Download Free PDF


The largest earthquake ever recorded in Haiti devastated parts of the country, including the
capital, on January 12, 2010. The quake, centered about 15 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince,
had a magnitude of 7.0. A series of strong aftershocks followed. Witnesses are describing the
damage as severe and catastrophic. Communication services were cut off by the earthquake, so
detailed information has been limited. Initial reports indicate that thousands of buildings
collapsed, leaving unknown numbers of people trapped, and tens of thousands of people homeless
in the streets. Early estimates of casualties are constantly being updated, but already reach into
the hundreds of thousands. According to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, “[o]f
Haiti’s 9 million people, initial reports suggest roughly a third may be affected by the disaster.”
About 45,000 U.S. citizens live in Haiti, and the Embassy has been asked to help account for
about 3,000 of them.
Describing conditions in his country as “unimaginable” following the earthquake, President Rene
Preval appealed for international assistance. The country’s top priority was to conduct search and
rescue operations for survivors. Other priorities included an offshore vessel medical unit and
electricity generation capability. The government also requested communications equipment so
that government officials can better function and coordinate response efforts. The Haitian
government, the United Nations, and donor representatives met in Haiti on January 14 to
coordinate their efforts.
The arrival of humanitarian supplies has begun, but access to Port-au-Prince and the distribution
of aid to people in need is difficult and hampered by a number of significant challenges that are
impeding rescue efforts and movement. People are gathering in open spaces and some are
reportedly leaving Port-au-Prince for other areas in Haiti.
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