The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake. Its epicentre was near Léogâne, approximately 25 km (16 miles) west of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. The earthquake occurred at 16:53:10 local time (21:53:10 UTC) on Tuesday, 12 January 2010, at a depth of 13 km (8.1 miles).
The United States Geological Survey recorded a series of at least 33 aftershocks, 14 of them between magnitudes 5.0 and 5.9. The International Red Cross estimated that about 3 million people were affected by the sismo, and the Haitian Interior Minister, Paul Antoine Bien-Aimé, anticipated on 15 January that between 100,000 and 200,000 would have died as a result of the disaster, exceeding earlier Red Cross estimates of 45,000–50,000. Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive announced on 18 January that over 70,000 bodies had been buried in mass graves.
The earthquake caused major damage to Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. Most major landmarks were significantly damaged or destroyed, including the Presidential Palace (President René Préval survived), the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the main jail. Compounding the tragedy, most hospitals in the area were destroyed. The United Nations (UN) reported that the headquarters of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), located in the capital, had collapsed and that the Mission’s Chief, Hédi Annabi, his deputy, Luiz Carlos da Costa, and the acting police commissioner were confirmed dead.
Rescue efforts began in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, with able-bodied survivors extricating the living and the dead from the rubble of the many buildings which had collapsed, but treatment of the injured was hampered by the lack of working hospital and morgue facilities: the Argentine military field hospital was the only one available until 13 January.
The US military acknowledged the non-governmental organizations’ complaints concerning flight-operations bias and promised improvement while noting that to 17 January 600 emergency flights had landed and 50 were diverted; by the first weekend of disaster operations diversions had been reduced to three on Saturday and two on Sunday.
Over the first weekend 130,000 food packets and 70,000 water containers were distributed to Haitians, as safe landing and distribution centers such as golf courses were secured. There were nearly 2,000 rescuers present from 43 different groups, with 161 search dogs; the airport had handled 250 tons of relief supplies by the end of the weekend. Reports from Sunday showed a record-breaking number of successful rescues, with at least 12 survivors pulled from Port-au-Prince’s rubble, bringing the total number of rescues to 110.
Haiti Earthquake Technical Details
- Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 21:53:10 (UTC) – Coordinated Universal Time
- Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 04:53:10 PM local time at epicenter
Location: 18.46N 72.53W
Depth: 13.0 kilometers
25 km (15 miles) WSW of PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti
130 km (80 miles) E of Les Cayes, Haiti
150 km (95 miles) S of Cap-Haitien, Haiti
1125 km (700 miles) SE of Miami, Florida
Location Uncertainty: Error estimate: horizontal +/- 3.5 km; depth fixed by location program
Parameters: Nst=326, Nph=326, Dmin=143.3 km, Rmss=0.94 sec, Erho=3.5 km, Erzz=0 km, Gp=26.8 degrees
Remarks: Severe damage and casualties in the Port-au-Prince area. Felt throughout Haiti and the Dominican Republic, in Turks and Caicos Islands, southeastern Cuba, eastern Jamaica, in parts of Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, and as far as Tampa, Florida and Caracas, Venezuela.
Event ID: us2010rja6
Haiti Earthquake 2010: Extreme photos a week later
Warning: Some images contain graphic or objectionable content.
Haiti: The BIG Picture.
This photos are from: Boston.com
People run toward a U.S. helicopter as it makes a water drop near a country club used as a forward operating base for the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010. Relief groups and officials are focused on moving aid flowing into Haiti to survivors of the powerful earthquake that hit the country on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A man is rescued by members of U.S., Spanish and Taiwanese rescue teams in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 17, 2010. (REUTERS/Marco Dormino/MINUSTAH/Handout)
A woman raises her arms for products as people loot from a destroyed shop after Tuesday’s earthquake in Port-au-Prince, January 16, 2010. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
Looters fight for products at a business area in Port-au-Prince January 16, 2010. Four days after a massive quake killed up to 200,000 people and wrecked most of the capital Port-au-Prince, hundreds of thousands of Haitians were still desperately waiting for assistance as scavengers and looters preyed on shattered buildings in the widespread absence of authority and order. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
A mob of Haitians reach out as goods are thrown from a nearby shop in the downtown business district on January 17, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
Looters fight for goods outside a grocery store on January 17, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, five days after a massive earthquake devastated Haiti’s infrastructure and killed tens of thousands of people. (JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
A Haitian police officer points a rifle at a man during a looting spree in the downtown business district on January 17, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
A Brazilian and Chinese search and rescue team searches through the rubble of the headquarters of the United Nation’s mission in Haiti in Port au Prince January 15, 2010. (REUTERS/Logan Abassi/UN Photo/Handout)
U.S. rescue worker Sam Grey, of the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue, holds a monitor showing a woman, Jean Luis Sainte Heleine, 28, alive and conscious, buried under the collapsed University of Port-au-Prince, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Russian rescuers carry Senvilo Ovri, 11, a survivor of the earthquake, out of the remains of a house in Port-au-Prince January 16, 2010. (REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva)
Haitians survey the damage to a building that collapsed onto a road in downtown Port-au-Prince January 17, 2010. (REUTERS/Hans Deryk)
People take water after breaking a pipe, on January 16, 2010 in the shantytown “Cité Soleil” in Port-au-Prince following the 7.0-magnitude quake on January 12. (Olivier Laban Mattei/AFP/Getty Images)
Georges Boutin of Fort Lauderdale, Florida (with hacksaw) and daughter (right) Pier Boutin of Lenox, Massachussets use a hacksaw to amputate a woman’s leg in Port Au Prince General Hospital. It was the first surgery at the country’s largest hospital since the earthquake. (Globe staff photo/Bill Greene)
A temporary camp for homeless Haitians is seen from a Canadian Forces helicopter fly-over in Port-au-Prince on Sunday Jan. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Tyler Anderson, Pool)
A boy lies injured in a makeshift hospital after the earthquake in Port-au-Prince January 17, 2010. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
Haitian-American people line up as they board a U.S. C-17 Globemaster III plane to be evacuated from Port-au-Prince January 16, 2010. (REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)
A Haitian mass grave receives unclaimed, unidentified bodies in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince January 16, 2010. (Olivier Laban Mattei/AFP/Getty Images)
Men stand near a burning body left in the street in Port-au-Prince, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010. U.N. peacekeepers patrolling the capital said popular anger is rising and warned authorities and aid organizations to increase security to guard against looting after Tuesday’s earthquake. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A man points a gun toward a crowd in downtown Port-au-Prince January 15, 2010. The man fired warning shots into the air to prevent looters from ransacking his shop, a Reuters photographer witnessed. (REUTERS/Kena Betancur )
A man pulls the body of an earthquake victim from a coffin in order to steal the coffin at the cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
The ruins of a cathedral are seen in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Marco Dormino/MINUSTAH via Getty Images)
A man rents mobile phone chargers by the hour in downtown Port-au-Prince January 17, 2010. (REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)
In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, Air Force Tech Sgt. Nicholas Wentworth hangs an intravenous solution inside an MH-60S Sea Hawk prior to flying an earthquake victim to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) on Sunday Jan. 17, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joel Carlson)
Haitian citizens crowd a ship in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010. (Candice Villarreal/U.S. Navy via Bloomberg)
Survivors of Tuesday’s earthquake extend their arms as U.S. troops with the 82nd Airborne Division distribute water in Port-au-Prince, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010. The troops gave out over 9,000 bottles of water and 2,000 meals Sunday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Women pray during Mass held outside the city’s main Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010. About one hundred people celebrated Mass Sunday morning just outside the Cathedral, which was totally destroyed in Tuesday’s earthquake. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Post author: Daniel Semper