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Earthquake Strikes Léogâne and Port-au-Prince, Haiti

18.5N 72.3W

January 21st, 2010 Category: Earthquakes

Haiti - January 19th, 2010

Haiti - January 19th, 2010

A major earthquake struck southern Haiti on Tuesday, January 12th, knocking down buildings and power lines and inflicting what its ambassador to the United States called a catastrophe for the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.

The 2010 Haitian earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake. Its epicentre was near Léogâne, approximately 25 km (16 miles) west of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. Port-au-Prince can be seen along the shores of the Port-au-Prince Bay near the center of this orthorectified image, taken one week after the catastrophe.

The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time (21:53 UTC) on Tuesday, 12 January 2010, at a depth of 13 km (8.1 miles). The United States Geological Survey recorded a series of at least 33 aftershocks, 14 of which were between magnitudes 5.0 and 5.9.

The International Red Cross estimated that about three million people were affected by the quake; the Haitian Interior Minister, Paul Antoine Bien-Aimé, anticipated on 15 January that the disaster would claim between 100,000 and 200,000 lives. Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive announced that by 18 January over 70,000 bodies had been buried in mass graves.

The earthquake caused major damage to Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. Many notable landmark buildings were significantly damaged or destroyed, including the Presidential Palace (President René Préval survived), the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the main jail. The headquarters of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), located in the capital, collapsed and the Mission’s Chief, Hédi Annabi, his deputy, Luiz Carlos da Costa, and the acting police commissioner were confirmed dead.

Aftershocks Continue Near L’Aquila, Death Toll Raised to 289

April 10th, 2009 Category: Earthquakes

L'Aquila, Italy - April 9th, 2009

L'Aquila, Italy - April 9th, 2009

Collapsed church, L'Aquila ©Adnkronos

Collapsed church, L'Aquila

Map of epicenter - source: BBC

Map of epicenter

The city of L’Aquila can be seen in the valley in the middle of this orthorectified ASAR image of central Italy.

The death toll from the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that struck the region was raised to 289 on Friday morning, reports the BBC.

The Italian government has extended the search for people who could still be alive under the rubble until Sunday; however, rescue workers believe the chances of finding survivors to be remote and so will focus on recovering bodies and assessing the extent of the damage.

Aftershocks are continuing to hamper such rescue efforts. On Thursday evening a tremor measuring 4.9, the fourth-largest since the earthquake, brought down a badly damaged four-storey building in the centre of L’Aquila.

Some 28,000 people have been left homeless by the quake. Meanwhile, President Napolitano has said poor construction is to blame for many of the deaths in Monday’s disaster.

Rescue worker and damaged building, L'Aquila, Italy - ©AFP

Rescue worker and damaged building

Aerial view of L'Aquila ©Adnkronos

Aerial view of L'Aquila

Citing “widespread irresponsibility” in the design and construction of modern buildings, he called for an investigation to find out how it was possible that essential buildings standards had not been applied. Modern buildings that suffered partial or total collapse in the quake include a hospital, city buildings, the provincial seat and university buildings, AFP news agency reports.

Tremors Continue in L’Aquila and the Abruzzo Region, Italy – UPDATE

April 8th, 2009 Category: Earthquakes

L'Aquila and the Abruzzo Region, Italy - April 6th, 2009

L'Aquila and the Abruzzo Region, Italy - April 6th, 2009

3D View

Simulated aerial view of Central Italy

The main picture is an orthorectified Radar (ASAR) image of Central Italy, focusing on the city of L’Aquila and the epicenter of the earthquake.

The thumbnail image gives a three dimensional look at the area simulating an aerial view (the Xvid codec, if missing, can be downloaded here).

Fresh aftershocks have rattled earthquake-hit central Italy, killing at least one more person and complicating rescue efforts, reported the BBC. One 5.2-magnitude tremor at 0253 (0053 GMT) on Thursday caused damage to buildings in L’Aquila and several nearby villages. Several of the aftershocks were felt as far away as Rome and Naples.

As the desperate search for survivors continues, officials have raised the death toll from the quake to 279. However, thanks to intense rescue efforts about 150 people have been pulled alive from the rubble.

Another 100 people are reported to be in serious condition and some 28,000 people were made homeless. Thousands spent a second night in tent camps around L’Aquila, the capital of the central Abruzzo region, as temperatures dropped to 4-5C overnight.

Crushed cars, L'Aquila, Italy - source: La Repubblica

Crushed cars, L'Aquila

Collapsed building, L'Aquila, Italy - source: La Repubblica

Collapsed building, L'Aquila

Italy’s Civil Protection Agency noted that tremors were continuing and it was difficult to know when they would end. At least seven strong shocks hit the region during the night, waking people from their sleep in the tent shelters.

Between 3,000 and 10,000 buildings are thought to have been damaged in L’Aquila, making the 13th-Century city of 70,000 uninhabitable for some time.

The head of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco Rocha, said 20,000 people were homeless and it could be months or even years before they were all back in their own homes.