Residents of Haiti are seeing the sun rise over their devastated country after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit the country’s captial of Port-au-Prince. Thousands are feared dead in the notoriously poor country where unstable shanty towns make up the majority of the cities, especially densely populated Port-au-Prince. Heads of government organizations were killed as was the Archbishop of Haiti, along with hundreds, possibly thousands, of the nation’s residents.
The French foreign minister said that the head of the United Nations mission in Haiti had been killed when the mission’s headquarters collapsed. The minister, Bernard Kouchner, told French radio stations that Hedi Annabi, the Tunisian head of the United Nations’ Haiti mission, and “all those who were with him and around him” were dead. Fourteen members of the United Nations cultural agency were reported missing.
This earthquake was the worst in the region in more than 200 years. Foreign governments and aid organizations around the world are mobilizing. The International Red Cross has said that the Port-au-Prince airport is open and relief flights would begin today.
Though Haiti is situated in an area prone to natural disasters, such as tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes, it has seen relatively few natural catastrophes in recent years. The Insurance Information Institute lists the 10 worst earthquakes in terms of victims:
As the country’s residents struggle to cope with what has happened, we will be keeping an eye on all updates regarding this situation. To view a world map all current disasters worldwide, click here.
- UPDATE: Devastation in Haiti
- UPDATE II: Devastation in Haiti – Up to a Hundred Thousand Dead, May Be the Worst Disaster in Western Hemisphere History
- The Haitian Tragedy: Day Three
- Chilean Earthquake Insured Losses Could Top $8B
- 2010 Disasters Cost the World $218 Billion and the Insurance Industry $43 Billion