As if Haiti hasn’t suffered enough….BBC News website reports
Aid workers and officials are also warning that flooding could lead to a sharp rise in cholera cases.
Sandy is blamed for some 70 deaths in the Caribbean. Of these more than 50 were in Haiti.
Sandy, which was a category one hurricane when it clipped Haiti last week, brought heavy rain and flooding.
At least 54 people died in what Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe called a “disaster of major proportions”.
Haiti was hit when it was already down. At least 20,000 people have been made homeless by the storm.
But the astonishing truth is that a casual visitor to Haiti probably wouldn’t even notice this new wave of misery; that’s because hundreds of thousands of people were already living in flimsy shelters after their homes collapsed in an earthquake two years ago.
Heavy rains rushed down mountainsides denuded of most of their forest cover by generations of over-farming. Most rivers in the south of the country burst their banks, according to latest UN reports, causing extensive damage to agriculture.
There is also concern about a new upsurge in the current cholera epidemic. The disease is spread by dirty water. Every time there is heavy rain, Haiti’s decrepit sewers overflow. More than 7,500 people have died from the current epidemic. More will die now.
There is concern that floods and unsanitary conditions could led to an increase in cholera cases.
More than 7,500 people have died in the cholera epidemic in Haiti since late 2010. Hundreds of new cases are still being registered every week.
Another big worry is the damage to the agriculture sector.
More than 70% of crops – including bananas, plantains and maize – were destroyed in the south of the country, officials said.
Food insecurity, particularly in this part of Haiti, was already a major concern.
Rising food prices have in the past triggered at times violent demonstrations in Haiti.
In Jamaica, Sandy caused extensive damage to crops, including coffee and bananas.
Dozens of houses were destroyed and many more damaged.
“Even before the hurricane we faced serious economic challenges. This has been made worse by the passage of Hurricane Sandy,” Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said.
Eleven people died in Cuba, making Sandy one of the deadliest storms there in recent years.
The eastern province of Santiago was the worst-hit, with flooding and landslides destroying crops, knocking out power and damaging buildings.
President Raul Castro, who toured the area on Sunday, warned that recovery would take a long time.
“It’s been hard. But Santiago is Santiago. It’s resisted gales and wars of every type. It will overcome this,” he was quoted as saying by the Communist Party newspaper Granma.
- Other side of Sandy: Caribbean devastation (PHOTOS) (rt.com)
- Haiti could see the deadliest effects of Sandy as food dwindles and cholera spikes (caribbean360.com)
- Haiti, Jamaica losses from Sandy (bigpondnews.com)
- Haiti food crisis feared in Sandy’s wake (aljazeera.com)
- In Haiti, Hurricane Sandy Leaves Behind Death and Devastation (world.time.com)
- Haiti fears cholera and food shortages will raise storm’s death toll (independent.co.uk)
- Caribbean nations count cost of hurricane Sandy (guardian.co.uk)
- Cuba and Haiti struggle to recover from Hurricane Sandy (miamiherald.com)
- After 52 Hurricane Sandy deaths, charities prepare to help Haiti rebuild (guardian.co.uk)
In The Times online
‘As rescue efforts work around the clock to pull survivors from the rubble, geologists around the world have put their day-to-day calculations and lab meetings on hold and are already sifting through seismic data collected at the time of last night’s earthquake in Haiti.
This isn’t a case of clinical academic curiosity. Predicting what is likely to happen in the next hours and days is vital for a well run rescue operation. Following an earthquake of this magnitude, aftershocks are to be expected and people in the region will need to know where, when and what size tremors they face.
The magnitude of the quake (7.0 on the Richter scale), which occurred at 21.53 GMT, was not extraordinary. But it’s proximity to Port-au-Prince – 15km (10 miles) – and that it occurred at such a shallow depth - 8km (5 miles) - were a unusually destructive combination. “Closeness to the surface is a major factor contributing to the severity of ground shaking caused by an earthquake of any given magnitude. Furthermore, shaking tends to be greatest directly above the source,” said Dr David Rothery, a planetary scientist at the Open University.
MY VIEW: Scientists with instrumentation may appear ‘absent-minded professor-types’ but their work and awareness is not only vital to understanding of the Earth, but how and when it is safe to respond the very real and tragic consequences such as Haiti’s earthquake.
Excerpts from The Times online: http://timesonline.typepad.com/science/2010/01/haiti-earthquake-scientists-and-rescue-workers-1.html
‘The reasons for depth being an issue are twofold. First, the energy from the quake spreads out in a spherical wave into the surrounding area, meaning the closer you are to the source, the less dissipated the force. Second, deeper beneath the earths surface the temperature and pressure is so great that the rocks bend and squash rather than rupturing. An analogy can be made with toffee – it bends when its warm but shatters when cold.
The earthquake was caused by a similar type of movement that occurs on the San Andreas fault: A sideways slip occurred on a fault that marks part of the northern edge of the Caribbean Plate and the North American Plate. Geologist Chris Rowan illustrates the tectonics in this posting on the Highly Allochthonous blog. http://scienceblogs.com/highlyallochthonous/2010/01/tectonics_of_the_haiti_earthqu.php
A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti this evening, causing extensive damage to the capital, Port-au-Prince, and probably causing many casualties. The map below shows where the main shock occurred (red), as well as the epicentres of the numerous aftershocks (orange) that occurred in the following 5 or 6 hours (and continue even as I write).