Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti: Situation report

This report was issued by the Office of the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs in New York. The next report will be issued on or around 13 January 2010.


- A powerful earthquake of 7.0 magnitude (USGS) on the Richter Scale affected Haiti on 12 January, at 16.53hrs local time (GMT 21.53hrs). The earthquake happened 17km south-west of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti (18.45N, 72.45W).

- Initial reports suggest a high number of casualties and widespread damage, with an urgent need for Search and Rescue.

- A United Nations Disaster and Assessment Coordination Team (UNDAC) is being mobilized.

II. Situation Overview

On Tuesday 12 January, at approximately 16.53hrs local time, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on the Richter Scale, and less than 10 km deep, was recorded off the coast of Haiti, and only 17 km from the capital, Port-au-Prince. Aftershocks have been felt measuring 5.9 and 5.5 respectively. More aftershocks are expected in the coming hours.

The capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince, has been severely affected including critical city infrastructure components such as, electricity, water and phone services. Electricity is not available and communications are difficult. Initial reports indicate a large number of casualties and widespread damage.

At this stage there is very limited access because of debris and other obstacles on the roads. The airport of Port-au-Prince is reported to be closed. The Presidential Palace and Government buildings are reported to have been seriously damaged. According to preliminary reports, several UN and well as other national buildings have collapsed or have been damaged. Populations may also be affected in Carrefour and Jacmel.

United Nations agencies, as well as the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society are preparing the deployment of teams and humanitarian assistance, notably from their regional hub in Panama. USAID/OFDA is sending a response team in addition to 2 USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) heavy teams.

OCHA is mobilizing a United Nations Disaster and Assessment Coordination Team (UNDAC) and is deploying staff from its Regional Office in Panama.

There has been no immediate report of damage in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Tsunami alerts were lifted, including for Haiti.

III. Humanitarian Needs and Response

Evacuation of injured, medical supplies and expertise are needed. Also clean water may be urgently needed very soon.

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