An article titled “Fierce Quake Devastates Haitian Capital” that appeared in the New York Times Magazine on January 12, 2010, reports on a fierce earthquake that struck Haiti causing a series of catastrophes. Eyewitnesses said that countless buildings, power lines, as well as hospitals were knocked down by the quake resulting in heavy damages, injuries and deaths (Romero & Lacey, 2010). The several bodies seen lying on the streets of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, were enough evidence of the seriousness and extent of the quake even though it was not possible to immediately determine the number of casualties amidst the chaos and darkness that befell the capital. Electricity and telephone lines were cut off plunging the city into darkness which made it very difficult for the rescue workers to save the people as the streets were blocked by rubbles.
The United States Geological Survey reported that the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the southwest of Port-au-Prince some minutes to 5.00 p.m. It was so strong that it could be felt in Eastern Cuba which is over 200 miles away (Romero & Lacey, 2010). According to Mike Godfrey, an eyewitness, a huge blanket of dust and smoke arose and totally covered over the capital a few minutes before the earthquake, obscuring it and lasting for about twenty minutes. Cries of help could be heard from every corner of the city as people became very frightened and shaken. Reports from The Associated Press said that the United Nation’s headquarters was seriously destroyed, with several of their employees being reported to be missing. In addition, the palace of Haitian president Rene Preval was also destroyed (Romero & Lacey, 2010).
Though Haiti has experienced catastrophic quakes in the previous years, the 2010 earthquake was described by geologists as the worst quake to hit the region in over 200 years. The quake left Haiti, a country that was previously very poor, in a far worse state. The United States among other countries said they would provide humanitarian support to the Haitian people (Romero & Lacey, 2010).
The Haitian earthquake was a blow not only to the Haitian people but to me as well. My aunt, who was a Red Cross volunteer based in Haiti at the time, was among those who perished in the quake. She was not only a relative, but also a friend and a mentor and I felt very devastated at the news of her death.
In conclusion, the 2010 Haitian earthquake was a catastrophic event that changed the lives of Haitians considerably. It is my appeal to those living in areas that are prone to earthquakes to take seriously the warnings of possible earthquakes and relocate to safer places.