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Haiti Earthquake Disaster – Update 14 Jan

Posted by feww on January 14, 2010

The Haiti earthquake is the worst disaster, so far, to strike the poverty-stricken nation

The casualty figures, both the dead and injured are very high.


Blood flows along the street in the aftermath of an earthquake in Port-au-Prince January 13, 2010.  Credit:  REUTERS/Joel Trimble. Images may be subject to copyright.

Highlights of News Reports:

  • Large sections of the capital Port-au-Prince have been destroyed. Also many schools, hospitals and other buildings have collapsed.
  • Haiti’s Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive says more than 100,000 people may have been killed as a result of Tuesday’s earthquake, though he did not explain how he had arrived at that figure. [FEWW Moderators believe this figure is highly exaggerated. More on this later.]
  • Brazilian child rights activist Zilda Arns and Port-au-Prince’s Archbishop Serge Miot have been killed in the earthquake.
  • UN Secretary-General BanKi-moon said 11 Brazilian peacekeepers and five international police officers (three Jordanian and one each from Argentina and Chad – were killed in the quake.
  • Brazil’s military said 14 of its soldiers had been killed in the quake.
  • Up to 150 UN staff, including the mission chief and his deputy are still unaccounted for.
  • Eye witness news reports say many sidewalks are lined with corpses covered with white sheets.
  • UNDP said 38 of its staff are unaccounted for.
  • Many Haitians are spending a second night out in the open where they feel safer from the danger of aftershocks.

A few technical details:


Click image to enlarge.

  • Haiti earthquake occurred as a result of friction between the Caribbean plate and the North America plate. The plates boundary in the region “is dominated by left-lateral strike slip motion and compression, and accommodates about 20 mm/y slip, with the Caribbean plate moving eastward with respect to the North America plate.” USGS/EHP reported.
  • “At the longitude of the January 12 earthquake, motion between the Caribbean and North American plates is partitioned between two major east-west trending, strike-slip fault systems — the Septentrional fault system in northern Haiti and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system in southern Haiti.”
  • “The location and focal mechanism of the earthquake are consistent with the event having occurred as left-lateral strike slip faulting on the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system. This fault system accommodates about 7 mm/y, nearly half the overall motion between the Caribbean plate and North America plate.”
  • “The Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system has not produced a major earthquake in recent decades. The EPGFZ is the likely source of historical large earthquakes in 1860, 1770, 1761, 1751, 1684, 1673, and 1618, though none of these has been confirmed in the field as associated with this fault. ” USGS/EHP said.

Energy Released by Haiti Earthquake was about a half of the estimated impact energy released in forming the 1.2-km diameter Meteor Crater [Barringer Crater] in Arizona

  • FEWW moderators estimate that the energy released by the Haiti earthquake was about 5.3 exp 15 joules [5.3 petajoules, 5.3 x 10^15J] or the equivalent of about 1.35 megatons of TNT. [Estimated energy released by the Hiroshima atom bomb was 15 kilotons, making the Haiti quake about 90 times stronger. See earthquake energy table.]

Related Links:

For More Information Visit Haiti Earthquake Disaster Links Page!

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