Haiti’s earthquake is a microcosm of a devastating humanitarian disaster

Haiti Fast Facts

A few decades after the devastating earthquake of 2010 in Haiti, there are fewer than 100 houses left standing. There are fewer than 10 roads and less than 50 bridges. Electricity, cellphone service and even the most basic health clinics are difficult to find.

What is happening in Haiti is a microcosm of one of the worst humanitarian disasters this country has ever seen and the consequences extend far beyond the impoverished central island.

But it wasn’t just one, it’s a complex and deadly one. The number of fatalities and casualties was far higher than the original estimate of more than 100,000 people reported by the U.N.

What happened during the earthquake in the country?

Like throughout history, it is hard to pin the exact cause of a disaster, but Haiti has one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Mount Pelée, which has been erupting sporadically since 2010, is located 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level and is just 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) from the epicenter of Haiti’s earthquake on Jan. 12.

The volcano’s eruptions caused tsunamis (thunder waves) and large earthquakes in surrounding areas, which in turn caused the disaster on the island.

The earthquake did not happen at the same time as the volcano’s eruptions. Also, the earthquake was less damaging than the volcano’s eruptions and did not immediately cause the tsunami.

The quake has two distinct phases: a small early quake, which lasted about a minute, and a larger one that lasted several minutes. The earthquake struck at around noon (9:15 a.m.) local time, with the seismic intensity of 7.3 on the moment magnitude scale according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

This is an important distinction, because earthquakes often occur in one place, erupt, and then follow a pattern that causes further earthquakes in a chain reaction.

That is what happened in Haiti. Haiti’s earthquake was the end result of a chain of earthquakes that started with the

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