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2010 Haiti Earthquake: Facts, Statistics, and Primary Effects

2010 Haiti Earthquake: Facts, Statistics, and Primary Effects
In this ScienceStruck article, we put forth a compilation of facts and statistics about the 2010 Haiti earthquake, which ripped through the Caribbean nation and derailed their dream of achieving economic stability.
ScienceStruck Staff
Fast Fact
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was the strongest earthquake in this region in the past 200 years.
On the evening of January 12, 2010, at 16:53 local time (21:53 UT), an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale, ripped through the Caribbean nation of Haiti. Over the course of the next 12 days, at least 52 aftershocks with a magnitude of 4.5 or more, were recorded. Of these, the largest―measuring an impressive 5.9 on the Richter scale―occurred at 06:03 local time (11:03 UT) on the morning of January 20.

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), it was the release of seismic stress, which had been building over a period of 250 years due to the movement of the Caribbean and North American plates, that caused the Haiti earthquake. When seismic stress builds up, it is difficult to say whether the energy will be released in a series of small quakes, or one big earthquake. Unfortunately, in the case of Haiti, it was the latter. In fact, it was the strongest earthquake in this part of the world in the last 200 years.
2010 Haiti Earthquake Facts and Statistics
The epicenter of the earthquake.
Haiti earthquake epicenter
❒ The epicenter of the Haiti earthquake was near the town of Leogane, approximately 16 miles west of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince. Other than Leogane and Port-au-Prince, the cities most affected by this earthquake were Petit-Goave, Jacmel, Grand-Goave, Miragoane, and Les Cayes.

❒ Besides Haiti, tremors were also felt in other countries of this region, namely Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.
❒ Estimates of the Haiti earthquake death toll varied widely, with conservative estimates putting the number in the range of 100,000 to 250,000. Then there were sources which put the number at as low as 45,000 and others that put it well beyond the 300,000 mark.
❒ The official figures released by the Haitian government in February 2010 put the death toll at 230,000, but that was revised to 316,000 in January 2011. The number though, has come under the scanner since then, with allegations that it was revised to ensure that the inflow of foreign funds continues.
Damage caused by the Haiti earthquake
Earthquake damage
❒ Among those who died, 96 were members of the UN Peacekeeping force. The head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH), Hedi Annabi, and his Deputy, Luiz Carlos da Costa, both died when the building housing the headquarters of the mission collapsed.
❒ Of the total dead, there were 122 Americans and 58 Canadians. At least, 3 people were swept away by a localized tsunami that was triggered by this earthquake. Besides those killed, approximately 300,000 were injured in this calamity.
❒ Most buildings, including the Presidential Palace and the National Assembly building, were razed to ground. According to the estimates put forth by the Haitian government, 285,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings were either destroyed or severely damaged.
❒ Additionally, 80 percent of schools, 60 percent of government buildings, and 60 percent of hospitals in the affected region were either completely destroyed or severely damaged by this catastrophic earthquake.
A typical tent city to shelter those who were left homeless.
Earthquake tent cities
❒ Around 1,300 camps or spontaneous settlements were built to accommodate the 1.3 million people who were left homeless as a result of this earthquake. These tent cities continue to exist even today―four years after the earthquake.

❒ The economists at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) revealed that the reconstruction of Haiti would cost anywhere between USD 8.1 to 13.9 billion.
Cholera Outbreak
In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, health and sanitation issues brought in a whole lot of diseases in Haiti. The cholera outbreak, which began in October 2010, affected 6 percent of the population and resulted in over 8,231 deaths in the country. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claimed that it was the worst epidemic of cholera since the 1994 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Haiti is one of the poorest and least-developed countries in the world, with more than 80 percent of its population living below the poverty line. The absence of building codes and the inability of Haitians to afford proper housing were the main reasons why the 2010 earthquake caused damage to such an extent. Just when the Haitians thought they were on the right track with a marginal rise in GDP in 2009, the 2010 earthquake brought their dream run to an abrupt halt.