Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Haiti Earthquake Magnitude 7: Tsunami Watch: Hospital Collapsed

Breaking: a magnitude 7 earthquake has hit Haiti. FOXNews reports there is a Tsunami watch for some islands in the Caribbean. Reported a hospital has collapsed and people are screaming for help. Terrible news. I'll stay on it. Updates as available.

Haiti Earthquake

The quake hit at 1.53 p.m. PST according to the USGS. This report from KPSP television:
It was centered 10 km below ground-- that's just a little greater than 6 miles-- USGS reports indicate.

The earthquake happened about 14 miles (22 kilometers) west of the Caribbean nation's capital, Port-au-Prince.

Since the initial 7.0 magnitude quake hit, two strong aftershocks have also struck, according to the USGS. A 5.9 magnitude quake hit at 2 p.m PST, followed by a 5.5 magnitude quake at 2:12 p.m PST.

The quake was originally reported at a 7.3 by the USGS, but was later downgraded to a 7.0.
The fallen hospital is located in Port-au_Prince. A U.S. government official saw housed that had "tumbled into a ravine." From CBS News:
"The Earth started shaking. It was very quick - five seconds," said Jean Jacob Charles from the International Red Cross, who is in Port-au-Prince.

Charles tells CBS News that he saw one of his neighbors die from a wall falling on him.
An analyst at the USGS in Golden, Colorado said such a strong quake can produce widespread damage. The spokesman, Don Blakeman, said "many aftershocks" have already hit, with the largest being 5.9 magnitude. He said the quake was shallow, which will bring more aftershocks.
The quake was felt in the Dominican Republic, which shares a border with Haiti on the island of Hispaniola. Some panicked residents in the capital of Santo Domingo fled from their shaking homes.

Another USGS analyst, Dale Grant, said this was "the largest quake recorded in this area." He said the last strong quake was a magnitude-6.7 temblor in 1984.

"Everybody is just totally, totally freaked out and shaken," said Henry Bahn, a U.S. Department of Agriculture visiting Haiti. "The sky is just gray with dust."
About possible Tsunamis:
The earthquake prompted a tsunami watch for parts of the Caribbean, Reuters reported.

"A destructive widespread tsunami threat does not exist based on historical earthquake and tsunami data," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. "However, there is the possibility of a local tsunami that could affect coasts located usually no more than a 100 km from the earthquake epicenter."
Many problems with communications in the area.

Update 6:02 p.m. CDT: Shep Smith is on now interviewing a missionary in the Port-au-Prince area. He said "every other building is down." There are few hospitals. Complete chaos in the city. No electricity except for people who have generators. No communications without computers on generators. No 911 emergency service and if there was, no one could contact them because there are no phones. The missionary says they will need lots and lots of medical aid.

Shep says some 2 million people have been affected.

Buildings are made of cement, so injuries are certain.

FOXNews' Wendell Goler is on the Dominican Republic side of the island. He said it was immediately apparent that he was experiencing this first earthquake.

FOXNews' Steve Harris reports that President Obama has offered immediate help. Harris is saying that the upside is that Haiti has no skyscrapers to collapse, but the downside is there is little infrastructure. No 911, no firetrucks and no real roads.

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Haiti Earthquake Magnitude 7: Tsunami Watch: Hospital Collapsed

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