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2010 Haiti earthquake facts for kids

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2010 Haiti earthquake
Ruins of the Cathedral in the centre of Port au Prince.jpg
The heavily damaged National Palace after the earthquake.
Magnitude 7.0 Mw
Depth 13 km (8.1 mi)
Epicenter 18°28′N 72°32′W / 18.46°N 72.53°W / 18.46; -72.53
Areas affected Haiti, Dominican Republic
Max. intensity IX (Violent)
Peak acceleration 0.5 g
Tsunami Yes (localized)
Casualties 100,000 to 316,000 deaths (the higher figure is from a government estimate widely charged with being deliberately inflated; a figure of about 160,000 is provided in a 2010 University of Michigan study; the 100,000 figure is suggested by the U.S. Geological Survey.)

The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a very strong earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010. On the scientific scale that measures the magnitude (or strength) of an earthquake, the quake scored a magnitude of 7.0 Mw. The center of the earthquake was near Léogâne, very close to Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city of Haiti. It was only about 25 kilometres (16 mi) west. The earthquake hit in the afternoon, at 16:53:10 local time (21:53:10 UTC). Haiti already was the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and was not able to take care of all the people that needed help.

Damage and death

About three million people were affected by the earthquake, many homes were destroyed. Three days after the earthquake, the Haitian Interior Minister said that up to 200,000 had died because of the quake and its effects. This was many more deaths than officials originally thought. At first, the Red Cross had guessed a much smaller death toll of 45,000–50,000.

The earthquake caused major damage to Port-au-Prince. Most major landmarks were badly damaged or destroyed. The Presidential Palace, the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the city's main jails were all destroyed. The president at the time, René Préval, survived.

Most hospitals in the area were destroyed, which made things much worse. The headquarters of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in Port-au-Prince collapsed. The Mission's Chief (Hédi Annabi), his deputy, and the acting police commissioner were killed in the quake. Elisabeth Byrs of the United Nations (UN) called the earthquake the worst disaster the United Nations had ever had. This was not just because of the property damage and deaths from the earthquake. The roads, phone lines and government buildings of the UN in Haiti and the Haitian government were also destroyed, so trying to just get organized and get help to the people was a real problem. So many people died in such a short time, that they used dump trucks to haul the dead bodies to mass graves.

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