Haiti

quakeHaiti was attacked by an earthquake on January 12, 2010 around 5 p.m. It was about 15 miles west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.0 and within 2 hours, there was 8 aftershocks. Within 9 hours, there was a total of 52 aftershocks, all had a magnitude of 4.0 to 5.9. Magnitude is the size of the earthquake. About 3 million people were affected by the disaster.

It was estimated that 315,000 people had died and 300,000 were injured and 1 million people were left homeless. This earthquake has caused major destruction in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and other cities in the region. Many important buildings were severely damaged such as the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly, and the Port-au-Prince cathedral. About 250,000 houses and 30,000 commerical buildings were severely demolished.

The education system was almost obliterated, half of the nation's schools and their three main universities were affected by the earthquake. 1,300 schools and 50 health care buildings were ruined. Many people were sleeping on the streets, in their cars, or on pavements due to loss of houses or many feared to sleep under structures because the structures probably couldn't withstand aftershocks. The construction standards were low, and the buildings were constructed incorrectly, making them unsafe. The country also suffered due to shortages of fuel and portable water even before the disaster.

As for recovering, American Red Cross and other aid organizations have been helping Haiti since the earthquake occurred. American Red Cross have spent and signed agreements to spend $245 million to meet the basic needs for the survivors. Since people have been donating money, Haitians are receiving relief, support, and training to help them recover. And the American Red Cross will continue to use the money they invested from the people into their programs and projects to help Haiti. Since the earthquake of last year, the global Red Cross network has provided medical care for 217,000 people, clean drinkable water for more than 317,000 people, food for 1.3 million people, vaccinations for 1 million people, shelter materials for 860,000 people etc.

Recently, Catholic Relief Services also announced a $200 five-year reconstruction program that covers shelter, health, and child protection. CARE will also continue to support Haitians with shelters and to serve people with water and other needs, supply schools with furniture and training etc. American Refugee Committee has helped more than 83,000 people to acquire basic needs, ensuring that people have clean water, shelter, health care etc., and their goal for this year is to get as many people as possible into shelters they are building.