- By Annie LowreyAnnie Lowrey is assistant editor at FP.
Early this evening, a massive earthquake rocked Haiti, the United States’ island neighbor to the south and, by far, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. The earthquake measured a 7.0 on the Richter scale and occurred close to the densely populated capital of Port-au-Prince. Initial reports indicate massive building damage, including to hospitals and water and electricity plants. Casualties are expected to number in the thousands. The United States and other nations have started to deploy emergency aid; U.N. envoys Paul Farmer and former president Bill Clinton are rallying aid as well.
We’ll know more tomorrow. In the meantime, aid organizations accepting donations to help Haiti include: the American Red Cross; the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund; Mercy Corps; Partners In Heath; and UNICEF.
Update: Mark Goldberg at U.N. Dispatch flags a worrying story. The earthquake has reportedly destroyed the U.N. peacekeeping mission’s headquarters in Haiti; the U.N. keeps around 7000 troops in the country. Mark worries about the U.N. peacekeepers’ capacity to act as first responders. The quake has also destroyed at least part of the country’s presidential palace.
Also: the L.A. Times has a good list of Twitter users to follow in Haiti. Electricity, landline, and cell phone service appears to be out in much of the country.