On August 14th, 78 miles west of Haiti's capital Port au Prince, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the country. According to Michigan Tech, this was a major earthquake that caused severe damage. In addition to this, BBC News has reported that approximately 1 in 6 buildings have collapsed.
This earthquake has also been the bane of buildings, even as many have been designed to withstand strong hurricane winds. Structures like concrete and cinder block can withstand the wrath of a storm, but not the vigorous shaking of severe earthquakes, which cause the ground to shake abruptly. Haiti, in particular, is more susceptible to earthquakes as it lies at the intersection of the Caribbean and the North American plate.
According to BBC news, more than 2,000 people have been killed, 600,000 people need emergency assistance, and 500,000 children are deprived or have limited access to mundane rights like food, water, and a substantial shelter. Hospitals can be found filled copiously and people are sleeping outside due to fear of more buildings falling.
"We are preparing for a public health disaster," says Nadesha Mijoba of the Haitian Health Foundation.
"We do not have enough equipment to fix the fractures, and we don't have IV solution or antibiotics and materials to take care of the wounds," said Dr. Jean Yves Glaud at OFATMA Hospital, which the Haitian government runs.
In terms of humanitarian aid, The United States and the UN have promised to send support, over 50,000 pounds of equipment, and a specialized search-and-rescue team to Haiti to ensure that they are rescued if there are any survivors. This situation has been exacerbated following the death of the Haitian president Jovenel Moïse on July 7th. Because of the major political instability that ensued, the nation was put in a state of unrest.
Other than the resistance of buildings, ways you can mitigate the repercussions of an earthquake is by using the 'drop, cover and hold method' where you crouch down under an object like a table. This will prevent being hit by flying objects and protect vital organs. As mundane as this is, you can also ensure to carry shoes with you to avoid remnants of broken materials from harming you.
The best way to help the cause right now is to donate to UNICEF to ensure the locals in Haiti affected by this earthquake have food, water, clothes and shelter.