By The Numbers: Haiti: From Bad to Worse

Published: Thursday, May 20, 2010
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On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, for 35 to 40 seconds. The island country’s capital of Port-au-Prince was hardest hit, with heavy damage to buildings and infrastructure and major loss of life. Haiti’s poverty contributed heavily to the extent of the devastation. Haiti, which has been largely deforested due to reliance on charcoal for fuel, builds most of its structures using cheap steel (or none at all) and concrete mixed with sand. The shoddy construction could not withstand the force of the earthquake, which went 6 miles deep. Haiti has already suffered a series of aftershocks, and geologists predict these will continue for years. To comprehend the severity of the situation for the country, it helps to understand Haiti’s lack of medical resources and financial situation prior to the earthquake.

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