ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: 2010 Earthquake Devastates Haiti
Garrison Hardie

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: 2010 Earthquake Devastates Haiti

On January 12th, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the nation of Haiti, killing an estimated 316,000 people, and destroying over 280,000 structures.The nation's history of national debt, prejudicial trade policies by other countries, and foreign intervention into national affairs, contributed to the existing poverty and poor housing conditions that increased the death toll from the disaster.

The earthquake caused serious damage in Port-Au-Prince, Jacmel, as well as numerous other cities across the nation. many landmark buildings were damaged or fully destroyed, such as the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly Building, the Port-Au-Prince Cathedral, and the main jail. 

(National Palace) 

Many countries pledged humanitarian aid, and sent medical teams, engineers, and other support personel in response to the disaster. The most-watched telethon in history aired on 22 January, called "Hope for Haiti Now," and raised $58 million by the next day.

However, due to the damage done to communication systems, hospitals, transport facilities and electrical networks, rescue and aid efforts were hampered; sometimes resulting in confusion of who was in charge. Morgues were overwhelmed with tens of thousands of bodies, meaning they had to be deposited in mass graves. 

To make matters worse, eight after-shocks came within hours after the main earthquake, and in total, 52 aftershocks were tallied up within the following weeks. The strongest aftershock measured in at 5.9 magnitude, causing even more damage. A tsumami also hit the small fishing town of Petit Paradis, killing three locals. 

To this day, the nation is still recovering. Parts of Haiti that were destroyed in 2010 still have not been rebuilt, including the seat of government, the National Palace. And there is little sign that buildings which have been reconstructed are structurally sound enough to keep inhabitants safe through the next earthquake.

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