Haiti: Earthquake Situation Report #1

Situation Report
Originally published


This report was issued by the Office of the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs in New York. The next report will be issued on or around 13 January 2010.


- A powerful earthquake of 7.0 magnitude (USGS) on the Richter Scale affected Haiti on 12 January, at 16.53hrs local time (GMT 21.53hrs). The earthquake happened 17km south-west of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti (18.45N, 72.45W).

- Initial reports suggest a high number of casualties and widespread damage, with an urgent need for Search and Rescue.

- A United Nations Disaster and Assessment Coordination Team (UNDAC) is being mobilized.

II. Situation Overview

On Tuesday 12 January, at approximately 16.53hrs local time, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on the Richter Scale, and less than 10 km deep, was recorded off the coast of Haiti, and only 17 km from the capital, Port-au-Prince. Aftershocks have been felt measuring 5.9 and 5.5 respectively. More aftershocks are expected in the coming hours.

The capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince, has been severely affected including critical city infrastructure components such as, electricity, water and phone services. Electricity is not available and communications are difficult. Initial reports indicate a large number of casualties and widespread damage.

At this stage there is very limited access because of debris and other obstacles on the roads. The airport of Port-au-Prince is reported to be closed. The Presidential Palace and Government buildings are reported to have been seriously damaged. According to preliminary reports, several UN and well as other national buildings have collapsed or have been damaged. Populations may also be affected in Carrefour and Jacmel.

United Nations agencies, as well as the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society are preparing the deployment of teams and humanitarian assistance, notably from their regional hub in Panama. USAID/OFDA is sending a response team in addition to 2 USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) heavy teams.

OCHA is mobilizing a United Nations Disaster and Assessment Coordination Team (UNDAC) and is deploying staff from its Regional Office in Panama.

There has been no immediate report of damage in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Tsunami alerts were lifted, including for Haiti.

III. Humanitarian Needs and Response

Evacuation of injured, medical supplies and expertise are needed. Also clean water may be urgently needed very soon.

IV. Funding

All humanitarian partners including donors and recipient agencies are encouraged to inform FTS of cash and in-kind contributions by sending an email to: fts@reliefweb.int.

V. Contact

Please contact:

New York: Ms. Stephanie Bunker, Spokesperson and Public Information Officer bunker@un.org, tel: 1 917 367 5126

Geneva: Mr. Peter Neussl, Humanitarian Affairs Officer, Geographical Coordination and Monitoring Section neussl@un.org, tel. + 41 22 917 1511

New York: Ms.Heidi Kuttab, Desk Officer, Coordination and Response Division kuttab@un.org, tel. + 1 917367 33 65

For more information, please visit OCHA's Virtual OSOCC at http://ocha.unog.ch/virtualosocc

For more information, please visit www.reliefweb.int.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.