Strongest Aftershock Yet Rocks Haiti

Katherine Britton | News & Culture Editor | Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Strongest Aftershock Yet Rocks Haiti

January 20, 2010

People in Haiti received a rude awakening this morning just after six o'clock, when the largest aftershock yet rocked areas near Port-au-Prince.

The 6.1 magnitude quake shook already precarious buildings, but potential damage is hard to measure. According to NYT, the quake "caused little evident damage… Everything that might have fallen appeared to have already done so."

Still, the aftershock caused thousands of people living in tent cities to run screaming for open ground.

"I thought this time, my good God, it was the end of the world," Josette Lilas, a 25-year-old beautician who has been sleeping in the street and bathing by the curb, told the New York Times. "I screamed and screamed. Then I realized it was over. I was still alive. Hallelujah."

Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said the government was sending a plane and an overland team to check on the situation in Petit-Goave, the center of this morning's aftershock. "We know they are going to need some help," he said. 

Relief group Samaritan's Purse said today's quake will not interfere with their work, but that doesn't mean the situation is improving. The team is busy providing temporary shelter, clean water, medical supplies and other non-food items.

"The destruction is complete," said Dr. David Gettle, medical advisor to Samaritan's Purse. "People are afraid to go back into their homes that may be standing because of fear of aftershocks. These people do not have shelter. Pray for the people in Haiti. Pray for the response. Pray for those who are here, and those who are coming." 

The Pan American Health Organization now estimates the death toll hovers around 200,000, with another 200,000 injured and 1.5 million people homeless. 

Though aid supplies are slowly moving into more people's hands, the pace is agonizingly slow, according to John Holmes, U.N. emergency relief coordinator. 

"We are beginning to turn the corner. We are making progress," said Holmes, according to CNN. "But it's very frustrating that it takes so long to get as many supplies, doctors and hospitals that are needed." 

Last Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti was 32 times stronger in magnitude than this morning's aftershock, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

If you'd like to support earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, consider joining some of's partners in their work: Global Aid Network (GAiN) USA, Food for the Hungry, Samaritan's Purse, and World Vision.