On January 12, 2010 Haiti suffered a catastrophic earthquake near the Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince. The earthquake caused major damage in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and other settlements in the region. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake. Death toll estimates range from 100,000 to 159,000. The government of Haiti estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged.
A 2013 study by the International Monetary Fund found that more than half of the 10,000,000 cubic meters (13,000,000 cu yd) of debris have been removed, and 20 percent of it has been recycled. That still leaves much dangerous terrain to walk or travel on. Although, many countries, organizations, and companies have responded with aid; today Haiti is still in a state of chaos. To date approximately 279,000 people are living in 352 camps.
The earthquake hit at 4:53 pm some 15 miles (25 km) southwest of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. The initial shock registered a magnitude of 7.0 and was soon followed by two aftershocks of magnitudes 5.9 and 5.5. More aftershocks occurred in the following days, including another one of magnitude 5.9 that struck on January 20 at Petit Goâve, a town some 35 miles (55 km) west of Port-au-Prince. Haiti had not been hit by an earthquake of such enormity since the 18th century, the closest in force being a 1984 shock of magnitude 6.9. A magnitude-8.0 earthquake had struck the Dominican Republic in 1946.
Geologists initially blamed the earthquake on the movement of the Caribbean tectonic plate eastward along the Enriquillo–Plantain Garden (EPG) strike-slip fault system. However, when no surface deformation was observed, the rupturing of the main strand of the fault system was ruled out as a cause. The EPG fault system makes up a transform boundary that separates the Gonâve microplate—the fragment of the North American Plate upon which Haiti is situated—from the Caribbean Plate.
The earthquake was generated by contractional deformation along the Léogâne fault, a small hidden thrust fault discovered underneath the city of Léogâne. The Léogâne fault, which cannot be observed at the surface, descends northward at an oblique angle away from the EPG fault system, and many geologists contend that the earthquake resulted from the slippage of rock upward across its plane of fracture.
Occurring at a depth of 8.1 miles (13 km), the temblor was fairly shallow, which increased the degree of shaking at the Earth’s surface. The shocks were felt throughout Haiti and the Dominican Republic as well as in parts of nearby Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. The densely populated region around Port-au-Prince, located on the Gulf of Gonâve, was among those most heavily affected. Farther south the city of Jacmel also sustained significant damage, and to the west the city of Léogâne, even closer to the epicenter than Port-au-Prince, was essentially leveled.
The response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake included national governments, charitable and for-profit organizations from around the world which began coordinating humanitarian aid designed to help the Haitian people. Some countries arranged to send relief and rescue workers and humanitarian supplies directly to the earthquake damage zones, while others sought to organize national fund raising to provide monetary support for the nonprofit groups working directly in Haiti. OCHA coordinates and tracks this on a daily basis. The information is disseminated through the UN news and information portal, ReliefWeb. As of September 5, 2013, ReliefWeb have reported a total relief funding of $3.5 billion given (and a further $1 billion pledged but not given).
A number of countries sent large contingents of disaster relief, medical staff, technicians for reconstruction and security personnel. Notably, the governments of the United States, the UK, Israel, the Dominican Republic, Canada, Brazil, Italy and Cuba sent over 1,000 military and disaster relief personnel each, with the United States being by far the largest single contributor to the relief efforts. The international community also committed numerous major assets such as field hospitals, naval vessels, a hospital ship, aircraft carriers, transport aircraft and emergency facilities soon after the extent of the disaster became apparent. Dominican Republic was the first country to mobilize resources to aid and rescue Haiti immediately after the earthquake.
Progress in responding to the earthquake was hampered by a number of factors, including loss of life, a number of aftershocks, destroyed infrastructures, collapsed buildings blocking streets, the lack of electricity for gasoline station pumps, loss of the capital’s seaport, and loss of air traffic control facilities. The damage to the Haitian government ministries, all of which suffered varying degrees of facility’s destruction and personnel deaths, impeded coordination of the disaster response.
In April 2010, the Haitian government asked that food distribution in the Pétionville camp cease in order to allow the normal economy to resume.
In the immediate aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, we worked side by side with people on the ground in Haiti to provide lifesaving relief supplies and services. Since that time, we have helped more than half a million Haitians to get back on their feet. Seeing a need to help people to get around the devastated city, Footprints Across Haiti® (FAH) was formed and began taking in donations for shoes. The need was broadcasted all over local South Florida and thanks to the generosity of donors and volunteers we have helped more than 132,000 people to obtain safe and reliable footwear to carry out day in and day out activities both in and outside of Port-au-Prince. We are still in Haiti, working to ensure that the recovery is long-lasting and that families are prepared for future disasters that may come their way.
About Footprints Across Haiti
Footprints Across Haiti® (FAH) is a non-profit organization prayerfully launched in 2011 by Keith A. Harrell, who still serves as President of FAH. Keith labored, along with some highly dedicated volunteers, to establish and supply much needed Haitians with proper shoes for the harsh soil in Haiti. Footprints Across Haiti® (FAH) exists to provide compassionate care to those in need. After the earthquake that devastated Haiti, FAH started gathering much needed footwear for those without, that suffered the traumatic events following the earthquake. Our network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas:
• Disaster Relief
• International Services
• Providing Supplies for homeless
• Ship shoes to Haiti partners
• Haiti Partners will distribute shoes to deserving individuals
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