Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The People of Port-au-Prince

Listening the news reports of what happened in Haiti yesterday I had absolutely no idea of the magnitude of what had actually occured. 

At first, I thought it was just an earthquake like the ones in California where a few buildings might get a little shaken up, food flies off the shelves in grocery stores but within a few minutes everything would back to normal.

It wasn't until I saw a report on CNN this morning that said possibly hundreds of thousands, not hundreds or thousands but hundreds of thousands, of people may have been killed that I realized the seriousness of what happened.  That is still resonating in my mind.  I still can't even fathom the total destruction that occured.  The pictures to the left are of the National Palace before and after the earthquake.
 I've spent most of the morning researching Haiti and trying to learn more about the history of earthquakes in Haiti.  Just came across a very interesting article that was posted in October 2008.  See a brief passage below.

Haiti is no stranger to large quakes with the destruction of Palais Sans Souci near the Citadelle in 1842. It has also been 200 years since any major seismic activity has occurred in Port-au-Prince. This means that the level of built up stress and energy in the earth could one day be released resulting in an earthquake measuring 7.2 or more on the Richter Scale. This would be an event of catastrophic proportions in a city with loose building codes, and an abundance of shanty-towns built in ravines and other undesirable locations. Even the super-rich may not be immune as many own homes with great views, but precariously perched on the mountainsides above Petionville, on ground which is also susceptible to landslides. (To read the entire article, click here)

 What happened in Haiti is simply something that I would have never expected, but apparently geographers knew this was going to happen.  I've been to the Dominican Republic several times, which shares the island with Haiti, and I had no idea that Haiti lies on a fault which made it prone to earthquakes.

My heart truly goes out to the people of Haiti, especially those who've lost loved ones and those who are trapped hoping to be found.  All we can do now is pray and make an effort to donate money and time, if possible, to spread the word to others that even if they don't have much to give something is better than nothing.

Found some ways on how to give to Haiti online, feel free to post other options.

American Red Cross (text 90999 to donate $10 via the Red Cross)
Yele (you can also text “Yele” to the number 501501 to donate $5)
Direct Relief International

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