At 6:03 on Wednesday morning, early enough to wake people and send them running from their beds out into the streets, an aftershock earthquake hit Haiti, registering 6.1 magnitude, sending another wave of fear and panic through the frantic existence that now defines life in the island nation’s capital.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the aftershock was 6.2 miles deep, and the epicenter was located about 35 miles (60 kilometers) west-southwest of Port-au-Prince. This aftershock is the strongest recorded since Tuesday’s 7.0 magnitude quake that turned an already impoverished nation into a desperate killing ground with at least confirmed 72,000 dead and tens of thousands more unaccounted for. Aftershocks have been hampering rescue efforts increasing the risk that collapsed structures will collapse or shift, posing further danger for rescue workers and victims alike amid some miraculous stories of survivors still being pulled alive from the rubble.
The UN estimates that 3 million people displaced from their homes in Haiti are still in need of food, water, and safe shelter with tens of thousands of people in a life-and-death race against time for getting medical attention. Authorities claim to have buried about one third of the estimated final toll which in the end would put the final death toll at over 200,000. Many of the dead are uncounted and unidentified before they are thrown into mass graves. When all is said and done, thousands, maybe tens of thousands will remain “missing” as a result of the urgent need to get the bodies off the streets in the days immediately following the quake.
Of the dead, the U.S. State Department has confirmed that 28 are Americans, while close to 5,000 Americans are currently still unaccounted for in Haiti. Aid, relief, rescue and medical personnel keep pouring into the region although they are still not keeping up with the needs of the people. and medical supplies are depleted almost as fast as they are replenished. The USNS Comfort, a US Navy hospital ship carrying another 550 badly needed doctors and nurses along with another 350 other medical staffers will arrive off the coast of Haiti this morning according to U.S. Southern Command.
For more stories on Haiti click here.
To donate money to the Haitian rescue and relief effort click one of the links below:
- The American Red Cross
- Doctors Without Borders
- Partners in Health
Photo credit: Fabie Marc, 7, who was injured in the Haiti earthquake, tries to open a can of Vienna sausage as she sits in the United Nations field hospital in Port-au-Prince, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010. The U.N. Security Council approved extra troops and police officers to beef up security in Haiti and ensure that desperately needed aid gets to earthquake victims. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)