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2010-02-02

Geophysicists: Haiti could be hit by another earthquake

Haiti could be rocked by yet another massive earthquake, according to a team of geophysicists (Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

Haiti could be rocked by yet another massive earthquake, according to a team of geophysicists (Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

By Jon Gallo for Infosurhoy.com—02/02/2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti could be hit by another earthquake that would be triggered by the one that devastated the country last month, according to experts. Teams of geophysicists have been following movements along the fault line that cuts across Haiti and into its neighbor, the Dominican Republic, to document the changes to the Earth’s crust after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12. The teams determined that added pressure to the fault line could create another earthquake that may be even bigger than the one last month. The geophysicists, however, don’t have a means to determine where – or when – it could strike. “Faults are always waiting for the right moment, but if another earthquake gives them a little kick, they go before their time,” said Eric Calais, a professor of geophysics from Purdue University in Indiana, who is leading the seismology project in Haiti, to Reuters. Haiti has been hit with more than 50 aftershocks, including one with a magnitude of 5.9, since the earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey claims the aftershocks will proceed for months, “if not years,” and “damaging earthquakes will remain possible in the coming months.” Calais disclosed his findings to Haitian President René Préval and the head of the United Nations’ mission in Haiti during a meeting on Feb. 1, according to Reuters.

Haiti relief workers distribute woman-only coupons

Relief workers have started distributing woman-only coupons for food as part of an initiative to make sure all families get aid and supplies after their lives were disrupted by the earthquake. The plan started because it was common for males to push their way to the front of the line at the distribution centers. It also was common for weaker survivors to have their aid stolen by stronger males, according to The Associated Press. The coupons, produced by the World Food Program, can be used at 16 sites around the nation’s capital and are good for 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of rice. Still, U.N. officials need more food, as they are unable to keep up with the demand of feeding an estimated 2 million, according to the AP.

Haitian children earthquake victims flown to U.S. for treatment

Doctors flew three young children to the United States on private jets to save their lives this past weekend, according to AP. The kids, a 5-year-old tetanus victim, a 14-month-old who was stricken with pneumonia and a baby with third-degree burns were sent to Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa., on a flight sponsored by the Boston, Mass.-based aid group Partners in Health. “This is a good day. These are three children who would have died if they had stayed here,” said Dr. Louise Ivers, Partners in Health's clinical director in Haiti, to the AP. “It’s the little successes like that that keep us going here.” Dr. Barth Green, chairman of the University of Miami's Global Institute for Community Health and Development, said there need to be more medical evacuations. “We have 100 critically ill patients who will die in the next day or two if we don’t Medevac them,” he said to the AP.

U.S. to assist in Haiti’s effort to resume airport operations

Authorities from the United States are working with Haitian government officials to resume civilian flights departing and arriving at the Port-au-Prince airport, according to the AP. It is unclear, however, when the airport will be able to handle cargo flights. Col. Rick Kaiser said the airport could return to the pre-earthquake schedule in weeks, but he could not give a more precise timetable, according to the AP. When the airport resumes civilian business, it likely will cause military planes to be diverted to an airport in Jacmel, a town on Haiti’s coast. The Port-au-Prince airport briefly was shut down after the Jan. 12 earthquake, but it was opened by the U.S. military at the request of the Government of Haiti, which has used it as a hub to deliver aid to the impoverished nation.

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