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The destruction wrought by the huge earthquake that struck Haiti in January 12th is still immeasurable, but it is certain to have dramatically set back prospects for the country’s social and economic development. The progress made in the last few years to achieve a modicum of political and economic stability—even to begin to attract foreign investment once again—is at risk of going into reverse. The challenges ahead will be too great for the government alone to confront, and will need a renewed effort by the international community, already heavily tapped following previous recent catastrophes, both natural and manmade.
With communications and transport networks still largely inoperable on the day after the quake, which measured 7.0 on the Richter scale (reportedly the largest to hit the area in 200 years), it is still impossible to estimate the human and economic toll. But it appears that the capital city of Port-au-Prince was severely damaged, with many houses, hospitals and other buildings destroyed. Even the presidential palace was partially collapsed. It is reported that the headquarters of the United Nations peacekeepers in Haiti (the 9,000-stong UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti, or Minustah) is also now unusable. Three million people are believed to have been affected, and thousands of lives have probably been lost.
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
Aftermath of the Haiti earthquake from CBS News RAW (Video)
MSF Responding to Devastating Earthquake in Haiti
New Video of Rescuers, Victims And Dazed Survivors In Haiti (Video)
In Haiti, a Desperate Hunt For Survivors (NPR)
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