On Tuesday, January 12, a 7.0 level earthquake occurred in Port au Prince, Haiti. It has been reported that schools, hospitals, and the presidential palace collapsed during the quake. Bodies of small children can be found lying in piles near schools, men and women still trapped in the rubble that used to be streets and homes.
It is also rumored that in the destruction, the main prison collapsed and inmates escaped into the streets of Haiti. Along with hospitals and homes, cathedrals also fell to the earthquake. Injured citizens lie in what remains of the city as they wait desperately for medical aid.
Already, the US Coast Guard has evacuated four critically injured U.S. Embassy staff to the nearby Guantanamo Bay hospital in Cuba. Along with the coast guard, countries from Venezuela to Australia have come to the Haitians rescue by sending aid workers bearing medical supplies and other necessities.
Aftershocks continued to rock the capital as injured Haitians gathered amidst the rubble, singing hymns and holding hands. Families mourn for their deceased or missing loved ones.
President Barack Obama has promised the United States’ support, and was quoted “We have to be there for them in their hour of need.” Obama promises a full-on rescue mission, having already sent the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, which is expected to make port off of Haiti’s coast on the fourteenth.
The earthquake presents many new dilemmas for the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Thousands of poorly built homes fell to the earthquake, and due to lack of health care and contaminated water, Haitians will be more susceptible to diseases such as malaria, measles, and dengue fever
The earthquake was the strongest and most devastating since 1770, over two hundred years. There has not been an official count of the dead in Port au Prince, but estimates are in the hundreds of thousands.