Haiti: Earthquake!

The Caribbean blogosphere is busy tonight, discussing very sad news – an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter Scale struck off the coast of Haiti, causing major damage and loss of life in the already besieged island nation.

Twitter emerged as the fastest, most time sensitive vehicle through which to report on the catastrophe; Facebook was also full of wall comments on the disaster, from both French and English-speaking Caribbean netizens. One user in Trinidad and Tobago was already collecting “foodstuff, blankets & clothing for Haiti”, asking donors to “label all bags”. Others, like Jamaica-based Annie Paul, quoted lyrics from calypsonian David Rudder‘s ode to the island: “Haiti, I'm sorry…but one day we'll turn our heads, restore your glory”, following up with links to video of the earthquake, which she found posted on YouTube:

Regional bloggers soon followed with more detailed posts, the most compelling of course, coming from within the island. The Haitian Blogger did a good job of posting regular updates with critical information:

General Hospital in Port-au-Prince is down, Palace is damaged.
No one knows how many dead or injured. The aftershock is reverberating. People can only see dust,
Obama is sending in military troops.
Phone lines that are working are: Haiti-tel and Voila.
All windows are shattered in houses in la plaine
Houses are falling down everywhere.
All the poor on the mountains, whose houses were build on the mountains, all tumbled down, one on top another…
A terrible situation! Devastating. There's NEVER been an earthquake of this magnitude in Haiti. Major aftershocks happening…
The quake was quickly followed by two nearby, strong aftershocks of initial magnitude of 5.9 and 5.5, the aftershocks were major earthquakes in and [of] themselves.
This is catastrophic. Changes everything.

The Livesay [Haiti] Weblog reported that “[an] earthquake hit Haiti at about 5pm…aftershocks are happening every five minutes or so.” In a follow-up post, the family was concerned that “people are very very upset and running in the streets” and was praying for a “cool head for all.” Pwoje Espwa – Hope in Haiti, meanwhile, entered a series of three posts, expressing surprise at the magnitude of the ‘quake and later confirming that “the news from Port-au-Prince is very bad.” Once the aftershocks were over, the blogger added:

Wow. Just finished with two more tremors that felt much like the first one right after the earthquake. Don't think the folks down here will sleep well tonight.

Many Haitian bloggers, like Real Hope for Haiti, simply tried to get word out that they were fine – this Ushahidi site provides valuable information about the on-the-ground situation, from roadway access to available power.

The Caribbean's heart, though, was breaking. Trinidadian diaspora blogger Afrobella:

Right now my heart aches for Haiti. The already-suffering island nation was just hit with a 7.0 earthquake. A hospital has collapsed. Government buildings have been severely damaged. There was a major tsunami watch, earlier. Reports of major devastation are just starting to pour in…my thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Haiti, and anyone with friends or family in Haiti…

Repeating Islands was quick to report that “Haitian musician Wyclef Jean began to mobilize support for the victims through his Twitter account”, and Bermudian blogger Catch-a-fire added:

It is becoming clear that the damage has been catastrophic. Slum areas have also been badly hit by landslides. Haiti has a lot of problems as it is and this disaster risks the country sliding into an even worse state. I’ll be seeing what I can do tomorrow. In Bermuda, although we have our own problems to deal with, we should still be able to offer help to our Haitian cousins, and I expect the unions and charities to start organising whatever help they can.

Finally, Trinidad and Tobago's The Liming House gave the local media a failing grade when it comes to Haiti:

Dear Trinidadian media: the Haitian earthquake is the biggest and most important Caribbean story, bar none, of the moment and the year to date.

What, exactly, is your excuse for your utter inability to update your sites to reflect this state of affairs, per the following screenshots (taken at approximately 8.55pm Trinidad time)

And in another post, which clearly demonstrates his compassion for the earthquake victims, he wrote:

Too often, relatively inconsequential events are referred to as ‘a tragedy’ or ‘tragic’.

But what is happening in Haiti – dozens dead, many more injured and dying in the aftermath of a 7.3 earthquake that also damaged and possibly destroyed the country’s National Palace – is a tragedy.

Readers, Haiti needs your help. In the coming days, weeks and months the island’s people will need food, water, shelter, medical care as they attempt to rebuild – for the umpteenth time – their shattered lives and nation.

There will undoubtedly be campaigns by the Red Cross, AmeriCares and other such organisations. Please give.

Give, and give generously, because the Haitian populace needs your support more than the myriad fete promoters and purveyors of glorified bikinis do; more than the enforcers of racism and classism along Ariapita Avenue.


Global Voices’ Special Coverage Page on the earthquake in Haiti is here.


  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by RuFreeman and Sergiy, z addams. z addams said: Haiti: Earthquake! http://ping.fm/lGo7H […]

  • Rick Omelian

    Would like to help, I have time but limited funds……………could offer services as loader operator, carpenter, plumbing?

  • My friends and I are definately interested in assisting the once Pearl Island of the Caribbean. We are students of The University of The West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad. We are certain we can contribute and assist the people of Haiti in this time of need. I am seeking further information on who we go to to deliver the items when collected???

    • sinistra

      Kristin – MEP Publishers has a list here – http://bit.ly/7qvXNA

      From that blog post, r.e. drop-off points in Trinidad:

      “At our home in T&T, groups are already emerging organising the collection of relief items which people can collect. Here are the ones we have been alerted to:

      Foodstuffs, blankets and clothing can be dropped off (please label all bags) to the COP (Congress of the People) Flagship Office on the corner of Tragrete Road and Broome Street in Port of Spain between 9am and 3pm
      ITNAC (Is There Not A Cause) is collecting non-perishable food items, clothing, bedding, temporary building supplies, medical supplies, and toiletries. For details, contact Avonelle Hector-Joseph (firstsamuel1729@yahoo.com) or Mellissa Lezama (868-714-5610/396-3330) ”

      Do spread the word to your friends and classmates.

  • ammado, the global online community connecting nonprofits, companies and individuals, has established the Haiti Earthquake Appeal to support four of the non-profit organisations working in Haiti. Together with the American Red Cross, Oxfam Ireland, Aktion Deutschland Hilft and AGIRE Italian Relief Coalition, ammado provides a quick and easy means of pledging support to the victims of the tragedy in Haiti by collecting donations from around the world to funnel to agencies on the ground during these vital moments.

    Through the Haiti Earthquake Appeal on ammado, people can give as little a 4euro or the equivalent in 32 other currencies, using any international payment method.

    To give to the Fund and get updates on the situation, please go to:
    Haiti Earthquake Appeal

    About ammado
    • ammado connects nonprofits, socially responsible companies and engaged individuals in a unique interactive evironment dedicated to bringing about positive social change.
    • it is free for nonprofits to join ammado.
    • ammado was founded in 2005 by Peter Conlon and Dr. Anna Kupka and is available in 12 languages (Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Simplified and Traditional Chinese) with activities in over 130 countries.
    • Headquartered in Dublin, with development centres around the world
    • Over 4000 nonprofits from all over the world using ammado to accomplish their objectives, increase public awareness and engage supporters and volunteers.
    • ammado’s secure donations platform is provided by Bibit Global Payments Services, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland group.
    • It is a global platform that has levelled the playing field for receiving and giving donations, embracing the breadth and power of Web 2.0.
    • More information in the press room: http://www.ammado.com/PressRoom.lnk

  • […] Global Voices stories In the aftermath of earthquake, eyewitness tweets from Haiti and Haiti: earthquake!. […]

  • […] en YouTube donde al poco del terremoto ya empezaron a colgarse vídeos de la catástrofe. Entre los blogs yo he podido entrar en The Haitian Blogger que ha ido dando información sobre la situación, con […]


    i am from India and i am interested in helping the victims personally can anyone guide me how to.

  • Help Haitian children and families struck by this disaster. SOS Children’s Villages (SosUsa.org) has been working on the ground in Haiti giving orphaned and abandoned children homes and education since 1979. SOS has a solid commitment to Haitian children through this disaster and beyond. Please visit http://www.SOS-USA.org to contribute to our relief effort.

  • Tonic.com has also put together a list of charities for contributing to the relief effort. Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti foundation has gotten the most press, but others like Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF are also heavily involved. Article here: http://www.tonic.com/article/charities-celebrities-step-up-to-help-haiti

  • […] Global Voices Online » Haiti: Earthquake!Excerpt. The Caribbean blogosphere is busy tonight, discussing very sad news – an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter Scale struck off the coast of Haiti, causing major damage and loss of life in the already besieged island nation. … Read more […]

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