On January 12, 2010, at 5 p.m. Haiti (and its neighbor, the Dominican Republic) was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful to strike the Caribbean in 200 years. The quake’s epicenter was only 10 miles from Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital with a population of about 1 million. Aftershocks as powerful as 5.9 continued to shake the city throughout the night and into Wednesday.
As the poorest and most disease-afflicted country in the Western hemisphere, Haiti is ill-equipped to deal with disasters of this magnitude. Reports on casualties were slow to get out of the country due to communication problems but many thousands are feared dead and many more injured. It is known that the quake inflicted large-scale structural damage to Haiti’s infrastructure. Hospitals and health facilities were destroyed, and the capital was thrust into darkness as electricity went out across the city. The presidential palace, numerous government buildings (including those of the UN and the World Bank) were leveled, as were thousands of shanty homes on the hillside of Port-au-Prince.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has a Disaster Relief Fund set up for those who wish to help the earthquake victims in Haiti. Members of Women’s League are encouraged to donate through USCJ’s campaign.
To donate online, please go to: www.uscj.org/donate, which directs you to their online giving partner’s website “Razoo”. Checks may be sent to United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, 820 Second Avenue, NY, NY 10017, attention: Rabbi Paul Drazen, mark envelope Haiti Disaster Relief.