Catastophic earthquake rocks Haiti

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:45 PM GMT on January 13, 2010

After making it through the hurricane season of 2009 without a scratch, Haiti's terrible earthquake of January 12, 2010 has brought a catastrophe of unfathomable magnitude to the impoverished people of Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. The magnitude 7.0 earthquake was centered just ten miles southwest of the capital of Port-au-Prince, at a shallow depth of 6.2 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The shock occurred in the boundary region separating the Caribbean plate and the North America plate. The two plates slide past each other at a rate of about 0.8 inches (20 mm) per year, with the Caribbean plate moving eastward with respect to the North America plate. The fault that produced the quake is called the Enriquillo-Plaintain Garden fault system, and last produced a major earthquake in 1860. According to the USGS (Figure 1), 238,000 people near the quake's epicenter experienced violent to extreme shaking, capable of causing very heavy damage. A further 3.2 million people experienced very strong to severe shaking, capable of causing moderate to heavy damage. Another 1.3 million people experienced strong shaking, capable of causing moderate damage. Haiti's total population is just 9 million, so half the country's population lived in areas that received moderate to very heavy damage from the earthquake. The quake did not generate a large tsunami, though a tsunami of 5 inches (12 cm) was recorded at Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. It is possible that a local scale, moderately destructive tsunami was generated close to the shores of Port-au-Prince.


Figure 1. Earthquake shaking map for the January 12, 2010 Haitian earthquake, from the USGS. According to the USGS, 238,000 people near the quake's epicenter experienced violent to extreme shaking, capable of causing very heavy damage. A further 3.2 million people experienced very strong to severe shaking, capable of causing moderate to heavy damage. Another 1.3 million people experienced strong shaking, capable of causing moderate damage. Haiti's total population is just 9 million, so half the country's population lived in areas that received moderate to very heavy damage from the earthquake.

One of the greatest natural disasters in Haitian history
In many ways, the hurricane season of 2008 was the cruelest ever experienced in Haiti. Four storms--Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike--dumped heavy rains on the impoverished nation. The rugged hillsides, stripped bare of 98% of their forest cover thanks to deforestation, let flood waters rampage into large areas of the country. Particularly hard-hit was Gonaives, the fourth largest city. According to reliefweb.org, Haiti suffered 793 killed, with 310 missing and another 593 injured. The hurricanes destroyed 22,702 homes and damaged another 84,625. About 800,000 people were affected--8% of Haiti's total population. The flood wiped out 70% of Haiti's crops, resulting in dozens of deaths of children due to malnutrition in the months following the storms. Damage was estimated at over $1 billion, the costliest natural disaster in Haitian history. The damage amounted to over 5% of the country's $17 billion GDP, a massive blow for a nation so poor.

Thus when it became clear that the hurricane season of 2009 would spare Haiti further misery, I was delighted that our suffering neighbors would get a chance to regroup and rebuild. But the unimaginable destruction wrought by yesterday's quake is a staggering blow for a nation so poor. When the damage is tallied and compared to Haiti's GDP of $17 billion, the earthquake of 2010 could well prove to be one of the most devastating disasters in world history. Further, Haiti's population is only 9 million, and the number of people killed, injured, and made homeless will make up a huge fraction of the Haitian population.


Figure 2. An earthquake hazard map for the Caribbean reveals that yesterday's quake occurred in a relatively low-risk portion of the Caribbean. Image credit: USGS.

Haitian earthquake history
The western portion of Haiti where yesterday's quake occurred is in a relatively low seismic risk region of the Caribbean (Figure 2). Large quakes are uncommon in Haiti. The worst quake in Haitian history was probably the May 7, 1842 magnitude 7.7 Cap-Haitien earthquake. This massive tremor hit a fault on the northern portion of the island, killing 10,000; three hundred of these deaths were from a large tsunami generated by the quake. One of the largest cities in Haiti--Cap-Haitien, with a population of 60,000--was destroyed, with the loss of 6,000 lives.

Caribbean earthquake history
The Eastern Caribbean is no stranger to devastating earthquakes. The Caribbean Plate slides against the North American Plate along a line running through most of the islands in the Eastern Caribbean, generating frequent earthquakes. According to the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center, the most severe quake to hit the region occurred on February 8, 1843, when a tremor estimated at 8.0 - 8.5 on the Richter Scale struck the Lesser Antilles Islands. Heavy damage was reported from St. Maarten to Dominica. In Antigua, the English Harbour sank. In Point-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, all masonry construction was destroyed, and a fire broke out that burned down the remaining wooden structures. One third of the population, estimated at 4,000 - 6,000 persons, perished. The event was felt as far south as Caracas and British Guiana and was even felt 2,000 km away in Washington D.C., Vermont, and Charlestown, South Carolina. The largest Eastern Caribbean earthquake recorded by modern seismographs was the El Cibao earthquake in the Dominican Republic in 1946. The earthquake was of magnitude 8.1 and generated a tsunami which caused 75 deaths and rendered 20,000 homeless.


Figure 3. Smoke and dust rise from the rubble of Port-au-Prince a few minutes after the catastrophic earthquake of January 12, 2010. Image is from an anonymous YouTube video taken from a house overlooking Port-au-Prince.

Lambi Fund of Haiti and Portlight mobilize to help out
For the past five years, I've been a contributor and booster of the Lambi Fund of Haiti, a charity that is very active in promoting reforestation efforts, use of alternative fuels, and infrastructure improvements at a grass-roots level in Haiti. I've developed a great respect for the work they do in the country, and have gotten to know Karen Ashmore, the executive director of the charity, and have written articles for their newsletter. Karen wrote me last night with this plea for help: "Most buildings in Port-Au-Prince have been damaged or have collapsed, which would include homes of staff and families we work with, as well as the grain mills, sugar cane mills, and sites for community economic development. And cisterns and latrines we have supported for safe drinking water and sanitation. Major rebuilding effort needed. Please post on your blog".

To help the Lambi Fund rebuild what was destroyed, visit their on-line donation page. Keep in mind that they are second responders--their aim is not to provide for the immediate needs of food, water, and medicine, but to rebuild the Haitian infrastructure and economy.

Portlight.org, the remarkable disaster-relief charity that has sprung up from the hard work and dedication of many members of the wunderground.com community, has also mobilized to help out the victims of the Haitian earthquake. As Paul Timmons writes in the Portlight blog this morning,

Portlight's focus in this is going to be on people with disabilities in Haiti...providing medical equipment, shelter, and food for them...there is an article below about the treatment of this population in the best of times...and this ain't the best of times...

We have a "Go" container in Atlanta which will ship out in a few days...and an ongoing relationship with a community of Catholic sisters in Port au Prince who will be opening shelters...

Any funds we raise will be used to defray shipping costs of medical and clinical equipment...and for the purchase of food and other shelter supplies...Haiti is our neighbor...and Haitians are certainly forgotten people...people with disabilities in Haiti are frequently barely seen as human...

Anyone interested in going to Haiti to help staff one or more shelters for Haitians with disabilities please WU mail us...


So, please visit the Portlight.org blog to learn more and to donate. Portlight is acting as a first responder, to answer the immediate needs of the Haitian people for water, food, and medical equipment. Portlight is exploring ways they can work together with the Lambi Fund of Haiti to put the materials donated where they are most needed. If you're interested in sponsoring an Honor Walk to help raise funds for the Haitians, please contact Paul Timmons of Portlight, via the Portlight.org blog. Thank you.

There are two things Haiti does have going for it in the wake of this horrible tragedy. Firstly, it is not hurricane season, so the Haitians have six months to rebuild and shelter their homeless before the storms of summer arrive. There is a large mass of dry air over the Caribbean at present, so there will be dry weather for relief operations for at least the next few days. Secondly, former President Bill Clinton was appointed the UN Special Envoy to Haiti last year, and he brings an important visible face to the needs of Haiti's suffering people. A huge amount of aid will be needed for this tragedy.

My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and relatives of those affected by the earthquake.

I'll have a new post on Friday.

Jeff Masters

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1104. HurricaneKing
4:46 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
It's funny that the low in Texas looks about as tropical as some of our "tropical" and "subtropical" storms we've had.
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 71 Comments: 2511
1103. jeffs713
3:43 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting atmoaggie:

I know, like I said, "pipe dream". Though that would put them in a much better position for the next hurricane and even somewhat better for the next quake...at least in survivability.


Haiti's biggest issue with hurricanes isn't the building codes, per se, it is the rampant deforestation. If they can get enough of an economy under them, they can get some ground cover and forests back, which will help a lot of their hurricane issues. If you look at what happened to them in 2008, most of the deaths were not because of wind or surge damage, but rather flooding and mudslides.

If you can get the Haitians to stop cutting everything that is closely related to wood down, nature can grow back a bit, and help them out.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5980
1102. TampaTom
3:29 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Moving out of the problem and into one possible solution -- realistic, cost-effective, and so darn cute:



Mississippi Cottage Program (cottages also known as "Katrina" cottages)
The Mississippi Alternative Housing Program is intended to demonstrate that improved housing solutions for disaster victims can be developed, tested, and used effectively following major disasters. The program will demonstrate that we can design, construct, and deliver a safer, more livable emergency housing unit that may serve as affordable housing for long-term recovery.

The Mississippi Alternative Housing Program a pilot project to explore, implement, and evaluate innovative approaches to both short and intermediate-term emergency housing solutions. The alternative housing units will be safer, more livable and environmentally friendly.


Definitely a better idea than just haphazardly throwing up tin shacks...
Member Since: June 20, 2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 1054
1101. AwakeInMaryland
3:27 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
just check the site had a look at park model inside view yes this is the future of temp afterstorm housing very nice

Thanks, Keeper! You've given me courage to re-post on next blog...takes me forever!

OH, re-peat...NEW BLOG!
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
1100. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:24 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Moving out of the problem and into one possible solution -- realistic, cost-effective, and so darn cute:



Mississippi Cottage Program (cottages also known as "Katrina" cottages)
The Mississippi Alternative Housing Program is intended to demonstrate that improved housing solutions for disaster victims can be developed, tested, and used effectively following major disasters. The program will demonstrate that we can design, construct, and deliver a safer, more livable emergency housing unit that may serve as affordable housing for long-term recovery.

The Mississippi Alternative Housing Program a pilot project to explore, implement, and evaluate innovative approaches to both short and intermediate-term emergency housing solutions. The alternative housing units will be safer, more livable and environmentally friendly.
just check the site had a look at park model inside view yes this is the future of temp afterstorm housing very nice
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 196 Comments: 63967
1099. nrtiwlnvragn
3:24 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
New Blog
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 21 Comments: 12607
1098. AwakeInMaryland
3:18 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Moving out of the problem and into one possible solution -- realistic, cost-effective, and so darn cute:



Mississippi Cottage Program (cottages also known as "Katrina" cottages)
The Mississippi Alternative Housing Program is intended to demonstrate that improved housing solutions for disaster victims can be developed, tested, and used effectively following major disasters. The program will demonstrate that we can design, construct, and deliver a safer, more livable emergency housing unit that may serve as affordable housing for long-term recovery.

The Mississippi Alternative Housing Program a pilot project to explore, implement, and evaluate innovative approaches to both short and intermediate-term emergency housing solutions. The alternative housing units will be safer, more livable and environmentally friendly.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
1097. RitaEvac
3:17 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Radar looks like a tropical storm coming ashore on the TX coast.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 10502
1096. tkeith
3:12 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting presslord:
I just made a $50 contribution to Portlight in honor of Pats' 50th birthday....please consider doing the same...

www.portlight.org
I just doubled your contribution for Pat's 50th Press...anyone care to triple it?
Member Since: November 1, 2004 Posts: 25 Comments: 8977
1095. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:10 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting atmoaggie:

Boy did they get stars in their eyes about how to tell Haiti to rebuild while lives are still trapped in rubble. Everyone is capable of this, but it is a special breed that thinks for a moment that Haiti is going to be some icon for renewable energy when they don't have any Whole Foods stores. Really, though, in a place that literally cannot adequately feed itself and has a known recurrence of earthquakes of 140 years and a known recurrence of hurricanes, what?, every 3rd year? hows about we just hope for building codes on the level of Florida. Given that they simply cannot afford any extra cost, even that might just be a pipe dream.
yesterday dosen't matter tomorrow is yet to come today is where we get the most done
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 196 Comments: 63967
1093. atmoaggie
3:08 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting ElConando:
Aggie building codes in Florida are quite strict btw.

I know, like I said, "pipe dream". Though that would put them in a much better position for the next hurricane and even somewhat better for the next quake...at least in survivability.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
1092. AussieStorm
3:06 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting StormW:
Good morning!

Happy Birthday Pat!

Good morning StormW
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 16088
1091. atmoaggie
3:06 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Happy b-day Pat and Drew Brees (and son)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
1090. NEwxguy
3:05 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Happy Birthday,Pat,looking at the Gulf,should be an interesting birthday as the day goes on.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 896 Comments: 16202
1087. ElConando
2:53 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
OH! and my Manners! happy birthday to the one, the only, the great the masterful, Patrap!!!
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 4430
1086. ElConando
2:50 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Well it happened the record for consecutive days with subfreezing low temps has been broken in Tallahassee. 14 Straight days of it, and hopefully this morning was the last day..
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 4430
1085. ElConando
2:45 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Aggie building codes in Florida are quite strict btw.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 4430
1084. CaneWarning
2:43 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting atmoaggie:

Boy did they get stars in their eyes about how to tell Haiti to rebuild while lives are still trapped in rubble. Everyone is capable of this, but it is a special breed that thinks for a moment that Haiti is going to be some icon for renewable energy when they don't have any Whole Foods stores. Really, though, in a place that literally cannot adequately feed itself and has a known recurrence of earthquakes of 140 years and a known recurrence of hurricanes, what?, every 3rd year? hows about we just hope for building codes on the level of Florida. Given that they simply cannot afford any extra cost, even that might just be a pipe dream.


Unless other countries (or maybe the UN) rebuild Haiti, not much will change. They are a poor nation and building to Florida standards certainly isn't cheap.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1083. ElConando
2:41 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting Patrap:
ESL IR Loop




hmmmm
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 4430
1082. atmoaggie
2:39 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting Floodman:
Learn again? They have never built for earthquake in Haiti...not even the natives, wiped out by the Spanish, consciously built for earthquakes...what are you talking about?

Boy did they get stars in their eyes about how to tell Haiti to rebuild while lives are still trapped in rubble. Everyone is capable of this, but it is a special breed that thinks for a moment that Haiti is going to be some icon for renewable energy when they don't have any Whole Foods stores. Really, though, in a place that literally cannot adequately feed itself and has a known recurrence of earthquakes of 140 years and a known recurrence of hurricanes, what?, every 3rd year? hows about we just hope for building codes on the level of Florida. Given that they simply cannot afford any extra cost, even that might just be a pipe dream.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
1081. GrtLksQuest
2:39 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Sorry - I missed including the link for the David Brooks' NY Times column about aid for Haiti

Link
Member Since: November 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 220
1080. GrtLksQuest
2:29 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
In today's NY Times, David Brooks' column addresses some of the concerns mentioned in this blog about long-term effectiveness of well-intentioned aid efforts and suggests possible approach.

Member Since: November 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 220
1078. AwakeInMaryland
2:22 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting presslord:
Awake...right now we are focusing just on medical and clinical supplies...as well as the water filtration systems...though the need for those items is certainly clear, for the next few days at least we're gonna focus..

Je comprende.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
1077. presslord
2:21 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Awake...right now we are focusing just on medical and clinical supplies...as well as the water filtration systems...though the need for those items is certainly clear, for the next few days at least we're gonna focus..
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10561
1076. AwakeInMaryland
2:19 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting trunkmonkey:
These are my comments on Dr. Masters poll,
I'm the guy who does the rescues of the dumbbunnies who fail to heed warnings.
We risk our lives for these people, and sometimes we pay the price.
So should the poll say, sign a wavier stating if needed rescued I take full responsibility of my actions and I won't hold the rescuers responsible for any actions.

I have rescued people from floods two or three times in the same flood, from their homes,
Yep, I wonder how they get back, so now, we just turn off the utilities, and they say its their right to be rescued, I say NO


FIRST RULE OF PEOPLE IN RECOVERY -- STAY THE H*LL OUT OF THE WAY OF THE FIRST RESPONDERS! DO NOT BECOME PART OF THE PROBLEM!! (Shouting on purpose...seen too many idiots...and in Ike "they" sent us out in tail of hurricane...friends were hurt in car accident, one permanently...Note: not the present Administration...hoping beyond hope the new guys aren't the same as the old guys.)
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
1075. AwakeInMaryland
2:13 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Press, thank you for the post about Porlight now accepting medical equipment and supplies in GA.
Yesterday Patrap mentioned something about there's a need for boots and gloves...is Portlight accepting those items? And does that mean work boots and gloves, or anything close?
(Let me know if I should move to Portlight blog for this...I'm still catching up and reading morning news.) Thanks.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
1074. nrtiwlnvragn
2:13 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Mission Details (Jan. 15):


Current U.S. military efforts are focused on working with MUNUSTAH and local responders to provide search and rescue, disaster relief and ensure security of both people and supplies.

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson arrived off the coast of Haiti Friday. The ship's 19 helicopters will fly airflift missions in support of aid efforts. The ship is also delivering more than 30 pallets of relief supplies.

A U.S. Southern Command assessment team and command and control team continue working with U.S. embassy personnel as well as Haitian, United Nations and international officials to assess the situation and coordinateU.S. military support.

Elements of the U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Wing have departed the international airport at Port au Prince, Haiti, after providing initial air traffic control capability and re-establishing airfield operations. The team remains for additional taskings.

Coast Guard cutters and aircraft continue to support current search and rescue operations and provide security for the area.

An initial company from the 82nd Airborne Division arrived Thursday and are gearing up to help, including providing increased command & control. The bulk of the 82nd Soldiers (about 700) are expected to arrive in the next few days.

USS Higgins is also now in Haiti and will support relief operations.

On the Way:

The USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group is set to deploy to Haiti. The group includes USS Bataan, USS Fort McHenry, USS Carter Hall and the 2,200-person 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. The ships will also include an assortment of helicopters (#’s not finalized)

Two additional ships, USS Underwood and USS Normandy are also headed to help.

The hospital ship USNS Comfort is also preparing to deploy. It's expected to be on station near Haiti on Jan. 22.

SOUTHCOM is closely monitoring the situation and is working with the U.S. State Department, United States Agency for International Development and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and other national and international agencies to determine how to best respond to this crisis.

Link
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 21 Comments: 12607
1072. CaneWarning
2:11 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Local news station just said the Haiti quake registered in Virgina. Seismology charts show a sharp spike in water levels.


They said it could be felt in Tampa, but I didn't feel a thing.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1071. AwakeInMaryland
2:09 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Local news station just said the Haiti quake registered in Virgina. Seismology charts show a sharp spike in water levels.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
1070. presslord
2:08 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
I just made a $50 contribution to Portlight in honor of Pats' 50th birthday....please consider doing the same...

www.portlight.org
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10561
1068. CaneWarning
1:55 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting Jeff9641:
Here ya go Canewarning.
DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...SATURDAY THROUGH THURSDAY.
THUNDERSTORM CHANCES WILL INCREASE SATURDAY AND CONTINUE INTO
SATURDAY NIGHT AS A STORM SYSTEM DEVELOPS OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO
AND PULLS A COLD FRONT INTO THE STATE. SOME STORMS COULD PRODUCE
STRONG GUSTY WINDS AS THEY PUSH THROUGH THE CENTRAL PENINSULA.
MARINE CONDITIONS WILL DETERIORATE AHEAD OF THIS SYSTEM AS WELL
BEGINNING LATE FRIDAY NIGHT INTO SATURDAY.


It seems like they'd add that into the official forecast. Maybe they'll update later today.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1066. trunkmonkey
1:51 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
These are my comments on Dr. Masters poll,
I'm the guy who does the rescues of the dumbbunnies who fail to heed warnings.
We risk our lives for these people, and sometimes we pay the price.
So should the poll say, sign a wavier stating if needed rescued I take full responsibility of my actions and I won't hold the rescuers responsible for any actions.

I have rescued people from floods two or three times in the same flood, from their homes,
Yep, I wonder how they get back, so now, we just turn off the utilities, and they say its their right to be rescued, I say NO
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 739
1065. TampaTom
1:50 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Member Since: June 20, 2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 1054
1064. Patrap
1:50 PM GMT on January 15, 2010


Aid workers struggle to get food, water to Haitians
By The Associated Press
January 15, 2010, 7:05AM



Aid workers hoping to distribute food, water and other supplies to a shattered Port-au-Prince are warning their efforts may need more security Friday as Haitians grow increasingly desperate and impatient for help.

United Nations peacekeepers patrolling the capital said people's anger is rising that aid hasn't been distributed quickly, and the Brazilian military warned aid convoys to add security to guard against looting.

"Unfortunately, they're slowly getting more angry and impatient," said David Wimhurst, spokesman for the Brazilian-commanded U.N. peacekeeping mission. "I fear, we're all aware that the situation is getting more tense as the poorest people who need so much are waiting for deliveries. I think tempers might be frayed."

The U.N. World Food Program reported Friday that its warehouses in the Haitian capital had been looted since Tuesday's cataclysmic earthquake. It didn't know how much of its pre-quake stockpile of 15,000 tons of food aid remained, but said some supplies were stored elsewhere in Haiti.

A spokeswoman for the Rome-based agency, Emilia Casella, noted that regular food stores in Port-au-Prince also had been emptied by looters.

Casella said the WFP was preparing shipments of enough ready-to-eat meals to feed 2 million Haitians for a month.

The international Red Cross estimated 45,000 to 50,000 people were killed in the quake Tuesday, based on information from the Haitian Red Cross and government officials. U.N. officials estimated Friday that 10 percent of the homes in Port-au-Prince had been destroyed, leaving some 300,000 people without shelter.

Hundreds of bodies were stacked outside the city morgue, and limbs of the dead protruded from the rubble of crushed schools and homes. A few workers were able to free people who had been trapped under the rubble for days, but others attended to the grim task of using bulldozers to transport loads of bodies.

For the long-suffering people of Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation, shock was giving way to despair.

"We need food. The people are suffering. My neighbors and friends are suffering," said Sylvain Angerlotte, 22. "We don't have money. We don't have nothing to eat. We need pure water."

From Europe, Asia and the Americas, more than 20 governments, the U.N. and private aid groups were sending planeloads of high-energy biscuits and other food, tons of water, tents, blankets, water-purification gear, heavy equipment for removing debris, helicopters and other transport. Hundreds of search-and-rescue, medical and other specialists also headed to Haiti.

The WFP began organizing distribution centers for food and water Thursday, said Kim Bolduc, acting chief of the large U.N. mission in this desperately poor country. She said that "the risk of having social unrest very soon" made it important to move quickly.

Governments and government agencies have pledged about $400 million worth of aid, including $100 million from the United States.

But into the third day following the 7.0-magnitude quake, the global helping hand was slowed by a damaged seaport and an airport that turned away civilian aid planes for eight hours Thursday because of a lack of space and fuel.

Aid workers have been blocked by debris on inadequate roads and by survivors gathered in the open out of fear of aftershocks and re-entering unstable buildings.

"The physical destruction is so great that physically getting from point A to B with the supplies is not an easy task," Casella, the WFP spokeswoman, said at a news conference in Geneva.

Across the sprawling, hilly city, people milled about in open areas, hopeful for help, sometimes setting up camps amid piles of salvaged goods, including food scavenged from the rubble.

Small groups could be seen burying dead by roadsides. Other dust-covered bodies were being dragged down streets, toward hospitals where relatives hoped to leave them. Countless dead remained unburied, some in piles. Outside one pharmacy, the body of a woman was covered by a sheet, a small bundle atop her, a tiny foot poking from its covering.

Aid worker Fevil Dubien said some people were almost fighting over the water he distributed from a truck in a northern Port-au-Prince neighborhood.

Elsewhere, about 50 Haitians yearning for food and water rushed toward two employees wearing "Food For The Poor" T-shirts as they entered the international agency's damaged building.

"We heard a commotion at the door, knocking at it, trying to get in," said project manager Liony Batista. "'What's going on? Are you giving us some food?' We said, 'Uh-oh.' You never know when people are going over the edge."

Batista said he and others tried to calm the crowd, which eventually dispersed after being told food hadn't yet arrived.

"We're not trying to run away from what we do," Batista said, adding that coordinating aid has been a challenge. "People looked desperate, people looked hungry, people looked lost."

Engineers from the U.N. mission have begun clearing some main roads, and law-and-order duties have fallen completely to the mission's 3,000 international troops and police. About 5,500 U.S. soldiers and Marines were expected to be in Haiti by Monday. Their efforts will include providing security, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Wimhurst, the mission spokesman, said Haitian police "are not visible at all," no doubt because many had to deal with lost homes and family members. The first U.S. military units to arrive took on a coordinating role at the airport.

In Geneva, U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said peacekeepers were maintaining security in Haiti despite the challenges.

"It's tense but they can cope," Byrs said. "Imagine those people who have not been eating or drinking for almost 50 hours and are already in a very poor situation, if they see a truck with something ... or if they see a supermarket which has collapsed, they just rush to get something to eat."

Batista, the Food For The Poor project manager, went back to the Dominican Republic late Thursday and awaited the arrival of 100 shipping containers loaded with rice, canned goods and building supplies.

"I don't think that a word has been invented for what is happening in Haiti," he said. "It is total disaster."
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141944
1062. Patrap
1:44 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Gallon o what,speak up?

Gallo Wine?

Okay..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141944
1061. trunkmonkey
1:44 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
The folks in California need to take a look at the next two weeks of heavy rain, the GFS models are consistent and a line of storms will be impacting California, starting Monday January 18,2010. These storms will last into February,
California's drought will be gone and the lakes streams will be overflowing, and flooding will occur. Mudslides will also be a concern.
Haiti will take a back seat to these fierce storms in California, the upper elevations will get the much needed snow.

So we will see if the models hold up with their predictions.
If I lived in the hills of California, I would be going over my prepardness plan, now!
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 739
1060. RitaEvac
1:43 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 10502
1058. CaneWarning
1:41 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting Jeff9641:
If thunderstorms form out ahead of this squall line as it comes across C FL then we will have a chance of tornadoes as there will turning of winds from low levels to high levels. The main threat with the line itself will be high winds and hail.


I just checked the NWS site for Tampa, and it makes no mention of thunderstorms or severe weather.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1057. presslord
1:41 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Happy 50th Birthday Pat!!!!!!!!! Gallon of Geritol is on the way...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10561
1056. Nimitz
1:37 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
Quoting Patrap:
Thanx unf97,..

Looks to be a good day.

Anyday one wakes up and has friends like this,for sure its gonna be a swell one.


Laissez les bon temps roulez, mon ami!

Happy Half a one, Pat!
Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 99
1055. Patrap
1:37 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
ESL IR Loop


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141944
1054. Patrap
1:36 PM GMT on January 15, 2010
TYVM,..nishinigami

Cyclogenesis on my B-Day.
Imagine dat.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 141944

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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