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Yesterday the strongest earthquake in 200+ years, of 7.0, hit Haiti, 10
miles to the west of Port au Prince, the capital. The country has 9M+ citizens w/ 2M living in Port au Prince. The quake hit about 4:50pm, only 1/2 hour before nightfall in Haiti. The grey dust cloud from the quake hovered above the capital for 20 minutes. North Haiti was not devastated. The quake was felt in Cuba 320km away.
At 3am CST US it is chaos in Port au Prince w/ reports of all buildings over 2 stories collapsed w/ many fires & bodies on the streets in Port au Prince. The AP is reporting that causalities are expected to be severe & widespread, likely in the 1000s. It will be 2-3 days before the casualty totals are compiled. While the presidential residence
collapsed, the president & his wife are alive. Many roads are impassable & phone lines are down. Cell phone service is spotty. Tens of thousands are homeless.
While the UN has headquarters there, this has also collapsed & many UN personnel are unaccounted for at this point. The US embassy is still functioning. For Americans w/ family in Haiti the US State Department has a toll free # of 1-888-407-4747 for information.
The US is preparing massive aid shipments & will be sending search & rescue teams by immediately as soon as it is ascertained that the airport is usable. 4 US Coast Guard cutters are currently in transit. The US Red Cross has released $200,000 for immediate aid for Haiti. Much more financial aid will be needed.
Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. It's capital has been devastated & it is not prepared to deal w/ a disaster of this magnitude. The hospital in Port au Prince collapsed. The buildings of the capital are largely concrete & cinderblock & these fare very poorly in earthquakes. Thus far the 23 aftershocks have averaged 5.0 w/ the strongest aftershock being 5.7.
Financial need is direly needed. Both MSNBC & CNN have links to reputable aid organizations that can help w/ this tragedy & are reporting that the US State Department has announced that by texting HAITI to 90999 $10 which will automatically be donated to the Red Cross. This will be added to your phone bill.
For those who are financially able to donate, this is a genuine disaster w/ help needed for some of the least least financially able people on the planet. It is likely that internet predators will immediately have scams posing as aid organizations, so please make sure your donation goes where you intend.
This CNN link has about a dozen credible aid organizations at this link:
MSNBC's Rachael Maddow's link has about 2 dozen credible aid organizations:
Both CNN & MSNBC as well as other news outlets will have additional information about this in several hours at daybreak.
Please distribute this information to other sites, social networking sites & individuals.