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.

Give.

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

34 comments

  • Greg Martin

    Great resources listed. I’m finding this site http://feeltiptop.com/earthquake%20relief/ useful for getting the best tweets, news updates, articles people are sharing on Twitter.

  • Haiti Earthquake Locating and Reunifying Family

    NOKR
    Washington, DC

    Jan 13, 2010 – The National Next Of Kin Registry(NOKR) would like to
    inform those who have family members visiting or living in the Haiti quake
    zone to visit the NOKR located at http://www.nokr.org to register vital
    information about their family members in the event this information is
    needed by the authorities or search and rescue teams.

    In the wake of the Port-au-Prince Haiti earthquake NOKR has received over
    three thousand phone calls from families and victims seeking to reunify.
    NOKR responded by speaking directly to the US State Department to offer
    NOKR services to those affected not only in the United States but
    internationally. “We are doing everything we can to assist communication
    efforts,” says Mark Cerney, NOKR President. “We cannot emphasize enough to
    Americans and Haitians nationwide the importance of registering themselves
    and their loved ones via the free service to enable an efficient location
    and contact of family and friends. The goal is to regain contact with
    loved ones for medical purposes and to minimize emotional trauma.”

    About NOKR The Next Of Kin Registry (NOKR) was established as a FREE tool
    for daily emergencies and national disasters. NOKR is your emergency
    contact system to help if you or your family member is missing, injured or
    deceased. NOKR is a humanitarian non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to
    bridging rapid emergency contact information. NOKR was established in
    January 2004, for daily emergency situations. NOKR is now listed on more
    than 92% of all State websites, the American Red Cross, Homeland Security
    Disasterhelp.gov, USA.gov and other federal agencies, as a critical
    resource for daily emergencies. For more information please contact NOKR’s
    CEO Michael D. Brown at (800) 915-5413 or visit NOKR’s website at
    http://www.nokr.org

  • […] post was ruing the backwardness of the Jamaican media in not adopting this protean new medium. As Global Voices Online pointed […]

  • Ken-ichi Toba

    Constructing a comunication net for the concerning organizations is needed.

    Not to lose yourself in the situation, you need commanding core.

    Rescue, care, food & water, and place to feel at home is needed for recovery.

    Angels are working.

    Thanks.

  • Charlie

    There is a huge need for all of us to help with this catastrophe. Public figures and organizations are putting together programs right now that all of us can contribute to. The following article lists many ways in which we can help the people of Haiti get through this disaster:

    http://www.tonic.com/article/charities-celebrities-step-up-to-help-haiti/

  • Oh Lord hear my prayer now, I sit at a table ready to eat a full meal. I look at the story and monitor conditions in Haiti, and wonder about those brothers and sisters who go to bed on the street without a hearty meal or privilege to sleep in peace. So instead of eating tonight just for me, I pray to you Lord to provide psychological support to those suffering in unimaginable conditions. Help those who are in trouble and comfort those that hurt the most. You do to me all your grace, and I am grateful for keeping me safe from the adversary… Amen.

  • […] Global Voices Online Haiti Earthquake […]

  • Bobby Ewing

    New UHQ high resolution pictures on the destruction from the 2010 Haiti Earthquake have been posted from on the ground in Port-Au-Prince and Jacmel

    http://www.jlaforums.com/album.php?search=haiti&search_cond=Pic%20Description&sort_order=&start=0

    http://www.jlaforums.com/album.php?search=haiti&search_cond=Pic%20Title&sort_order=&start=0

  • Nosare

    My condolences to the children of Haiti who have lost their parents. May the Lord grant you peace to such an inhuman and terrible event.thanks, Nosare,Papua New Guinea
    also live in an island country – Papua New Guinea, with similar settings as Haiti.I was filled with tears when I first show pictures of the catastrophy.I wish I could help with anything I could possibly do to assist with the rescue of those missing in the rumbles.My heart is burning to those children who have lost their parents.I’m praying to Jesus , that he will give peace of mind as they look forward for help.

    Gg

  • Hi, I would just like to inform everyone that this major & devastating Quake had shockingly, already been Prophesied. Click this link to watch this Mighty Prophecy Of The Haiti Earthquake:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwmi7Tj2Z0M

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