Cris Bierrenbach/AP
A man uses a cell phone as he holds a person's hand after an earthquake struck
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake, the
largest ever recorded in the area, rocked Haiti on Tuesday.

Haiti Reeling After Massive Quake, World Mobilizes to Help

January 13, 2010 01:15 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake and frequent aftershocks have rocked the impoverished Caribbean nation. Learn more about the earthquake and how to help.

High Death Toll Expected in Haiti

According to The New York Times, thousands are feared dead and Haiti’s president, René Préval, has described the situation as “unimaginable.” The quake was the most severe in this perilous region in more than two centuries, prompting aid efforts from the Red Cross, Oxfam and countless other aid agencies.

The Huffington Post has video footage of President Obama’s plea to help Haiti in any way possible, as well as a harrowing story recounting the rescue of a young American aid worker by her husband.

The quake hit “just before 5 p.m. about 10 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince,” the Times reports, wreaking havoc on Haiti’s shoddy infrastructure, and the "tin-roof shacks that sit precariously on steep ravines." Upwards of 30 aftershocks have been recorded, each measuring at least 4.5 on the Richter Scale, geophysicist Amy Vaughn of the United States Geological Survey told the Times.

The fault line running through Haiti resembles the San Andreas fault in California, and the quake was characterized as “strike-slip,” which are often shallow and result in “violent shaking at the surface,” the Times reported.

Efforts to Help Haiti on Twitter

Twitter has allowed for an even swifter response to the Haiti earthquake by aid organizations and citizens. According to Yahoo Finance, fundraising efforts by musician Wyclef Jean and the American Red Cross led to tweets from around the world pledging donations. To donate $10 to Red Cross efforts, text “HAITI” to 90999, Yahoo reports. Jean set up a similar system that temporarily crashed due to overwhelming interest.

Matador Network, comprising nine travel blogs, has sprung to action, thanks to quick thinking from managing editor Julie Schwietert. She initiated a Twitter campaign to convince JetBlue airlines to fly a full plane of volunteers to Haiti, based on this Tweet: “@JetBlue: If @MatadorNetwork could fill a plane with volunteers, would you fly them to Santo Domingo to help #quake vics in #Haiti?” Follow updates to Matador’s project on Matador Change. 

How You Can Help Haiti

Would-be donors should be wary of the possibility of illegitimate and fraudulent donation programs. San Francisco Chronicle published a Haiti donation list with information on how each organization is reaching out to Haiti.

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