The earthquake hit at 4:53 PM (Pacific Time), 25 km southwest of Port-au-Prince. The initial shock registered at a magnitude of 7.0 and was followed by two aftershocks of magnitudes of 5.9 and 5.5. More aftershocks are expected to follow in the coming days. The focus occurred at a depth of 13 km (a shallow earthquake (focus at a depth of 0-70km)). The epicenter was near the town of Léogâne.
The earthquake is blamed on the movement of the Caribbean tectonic plate eastward along the Enriquillo-Plantian Garden strike-slip fault system. …show more content…
The city of Léogâne was levelled, the city of Jacmel and Port-au-Prince sustained significant damage.
The last major earthquake to hit Haiti was a magnitude 5.4 one in 1994, which only caused damages to houses and two fatalities. Minor earthquakes have been common in Haiti. The deadliest earthquake, before this one, to hit Haiti was in 1842 with 5000 fatalities and severe damage.
The massive destruction and collapsing of buildings is partly due to inadequate structure reinforcement which led to the building falling easily and trapping or killing their occupants. The city of Port-au-Prince experienced damage to the Cathedral, the National Palace, the UN headquarters in Haiti, and the Parliament building. The city was ill-equipped to deal with the earthquake since it is still recovering from the two tropical storms and the two hurricanes of August-September 2008.
An estimated 300,000 people have been killed. With another one million presumed to be left homeless. Over three million people were affected by the quake- nearly one-third of the country’s population. Due to the destruction of many hospitals, survivors are going to be forced to wait days for treatment. Further deaths are expected due to