The longevity of effects of natural disasters

Ashley James, Guest Writer

On Jan. 12, 2010, a large-scale earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7.0 hit Haiti a mere 15 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince. This initial shock as well as the subsequent aftershocks measuring as high as a magnitude 5.9 severely affected Haiti and surrounding areas such as the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico.
Unfortunately, due to the high population density of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, this event proved to be catastrophic.
Areas and cities closer to the epicenter of the initial shock were nothing short of leveled, creating a country in crisis and ruin.
The Haitian government estimated the initial death count of over 300,000 persons as national and foreign aid began to scramble to sift through the debris in hopes of finding survivors within the rubble.
It is estimated that over 3 million people within the region were affected by the earthquake leaving people homeless, without adequate food, water, medical care or treatment, electricity, communication, or even adequate roadways.
The efforts of the International aid organizations were helpful, however, were significantly lacking and areas outside of Port-au-Prince continued to struggle to receive basic necessity items such as food, water, and medical care for weeks after the initial shock.
As of January 2011, the Haitian government released to official death toll of the earthquake as 316,000 deaths; however, this estimate is heavily debated as the deaths of those injured, missing, or kidnapped within the resulting chaos could not be accurately accounted for and the number of persons who have perished due to this catastrophic event is argued to be much higher.
To date, there has been a total of $13.34 billion in aid by international organizations to assist Haiti in reconstruction and population support according to statistics provided by the UN.
This month marks the 10-year remembrance of this catastrophic event in which Haiti and her people continue to recover as a stark reminder of the power of mother nature and the effects natural disasters can have on an entire country.