Wednesday, 13 January 2010 — A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Tuesday afternoon, January 12, 2010, close to the nation's capital of Port-au-Prince, a city of two million people. A series of aftershocks has rocked the affected area. Preliminary reports indicate many collapsed structures-including two health facilities, the Eliazard Germain hospital in Petionville, an area of Port-au-Prince and the Petit frères et Soeurs facility. National authorities believe there will be a serious loss of life. According to OCHA reports the most affected cities are: Port-au-Prince, Carrefour and Jacmel. This has been the strongest earthquake ever recorded in Haiti along this fault line. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. It ranks 154th on the United Nations Human Development Index.
The quake was felt as far away as the neighboring Dominican Republic, where two hospitals in Barahona and Santiago were affected. Today, the Pan American Health Organization is mobilizing a rapid health response team through the Dominican Republic. Neighboring countries in the region are already in the process of organizing humanitarian aid missions and assistance and search and rescue teams. The condition of the airport is being assessed to determine how quickly humanitarian aid can reach the affected area.
In 2008, Haiti was devastated by four major hurricanes/tropical storms: Faye, Gustav, Hanna and Ike, which wreaked havoc on physical and agricultural infrastructure. The storms killed almost 450 people, affected a million residents and left more than 150,000 are living in shelters.
For more information, visit PAHO's Disasters and Humanitarian Assistance site.