2010 Haiti earthquake
|Downtown Port-au-Prince, after the earthquake (top)
The epicenter of the earthquake (bottom)
|Date||16:53:10, 12 January 2010 (−05:00)
21:53:10, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
|Depth||13 kilometres (8.1 mi)|
|Countries or regions affected||Haiti|
|Max. intensity||MM X on the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system.|
|Casualties||Estimated deaths range from 45,000–50,000 (Red Cross) up to 200,000 (Haitian government)|
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a very bad earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010. On the scientific scale that measures the magnitude (or strength) of an earthquake, the quake scored a magnitude of 7.0 Mw. The center of the earthquake was near Léogâne, very close to Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city of Haiti. It was only about 25 kilometres (16 mi) west. The earthquake hit in the afternoon, at 16:53:10 local time (21:53:10 UTC).  Haiti already was the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and was not able to take care of all the people that needed help.
The Earthquake [change]
The earthquake happened about 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) below the surface of the Earth. Many aftershocks happened after the earthquake. The United States Geological Survey recorded at least 33 aftershocks. Fourteen of them had magnitudes between 5.0 and 5.9.
Haiti is on the Caribbean tectonic plate. It is also on the North America plate border, which had been locked for about 200 years. Because of this, huge stress had been built up under Haiti. All of this energy was released in the earthquake. This is part of the reason why the earthquake was so strong. The quake also caused a lot of damage because so many people and buildings were very close together in Port-au-Prince. Also, many of the buildings were not made very well and easily fell. Most buildings were made of concrete and crushed people beneath them.
Damage and Death [change]
About three million people were affected by the earthquake, many homes were destroyed. Three days after the earthquake, the Haitian Interior Minister said that up to 200,000 had died because of the quake and its effects., This was many more deaths than officials originally thought. At first, the Red Cross had guessed a much smaller death toll of 45,000–50,000.
The earthquake caused major damage to Port-au-Prince. Most major landmarks were badly damaged or destroyed. The Presidential Palace, the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the city's main jail were all destroyed. The president at the time, René Préval, survived.
Most hospitals in the area were destroyed, which made things much worse. The headquarters of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in Port-au-Prince collapsed. The Mission's Chief (Hédi Annabi), his deputy, and the acting police commissioner were killed in the quake. Elisabeth Byrs of the United Nations (UN) called the earthquake the worst disaster the United Nations had ever had. This was not just because of the property damage and deaths from the earthquake. The roads, phone lines and government buildings of the UN in Haiti and the Haitian government were also destroyed, so trying to just get organized and get help to the people was a real problem. So many people died in such a short time, that they used dump trucks to haul the dead bodies to mass graves.
After the earthquake, many charities and organizations asked people around the world to help Haiti. The International Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the United Nations, and president René Préval all asked the world for help. Raymond Joseph, Haiti's ambassador to the United States, and his nephew, famous singer Wyclef Jean, also begged people to give money. (A few years before the earthquake, President Preval had asked Jean to become a "roving ambassador" for Haiti.)
Many different countries started raising money and sent medical teams or search and rescue teams to Haiti. The Dominican Republic, which is next to Haiti, was the first country to give aid. This helped reduce some bad feelings between the two countries that had been there a long time.
But it takes a long time to rebuild a city and the area around it. Just finding places to move all the broken parts of buildings was difficult. And countries promise money to help rebuild, but it takes a while to get the money, and in most disasters, only half the money that is promised is actually sent.  (This doesn't count millions of dollars that people gave directly). For years many people were living in tents, wherever they could find room. And workers for the UN introduced cholera to the country in October 2010, which made many people sick and killed thousands more. The country is still recovering.
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