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Relief Efforts Underway After Earthquake Hits Haiti

January 13, 2010 By: Meagan Drillinger

Tuesday, just before 5 p.m. an earthquake, reaching magnitudes of 7.0, struck Haiti about 10 miles south of Port-Au-Prince.

According to the New York Times, there are still "untold numbers" of people unaccounted for, including the head of the United Nations mission. The exact number of deaths is still unknown but it is assumed to be in the thousands.

An estimated 3 million people were affected by the quake. Many roads are either in shambles or severely blocked, which will make transportation of food, fresh water and aid that much more difficult.

The UN’s headquarters in Port-au-Prince, along with other buildings hosting the world body, have collapsed, leaving some 150 staff members unaccounted for. So far the UN confirmed that 16 peacekeepers serving with the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti died in the quake, and officials believe the number of fatalities is likely to rise in the coming days.

Delta Air Lines canceled its flight from New York's John F Kennedy International Airport to Port-au-Prince. American Airlines flew its last flight from Haiti to Miami Tuesday night. Both carriers said they were uncertain when flights to Haiti would resume.

Royal Caribbean Cruises' private beach destination in Labadee, Haiti, reported no apparent damage to the company's buildings, pier and attractions. It added that all of its workers in Labadee were accounted for and had no injuries. The Independence of the Seas cruise ship is scheduled to go to Haiti Friday. Three other ships are slated to stop in Haiti next week.

JetBlue Airways Corp said it would waive change fees and fare differences to allow customers to rebook their travel to the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

The U.S. State Department urged Americans not to travel to Haiti.

The world responded just hours after Haiti was struck by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake Tuesday evening. Dozens of relief efforts were put into effect.

How You Can Help

The State Department posted on its DipNote blog that "for those interested in helping immediately, simply text HAITI to '90999' and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill."

The American Red Cross has information on its site about how to help. Click here.

Wyclef Jean, a Haitian musician, says if you text "Yele" to 501501 you will automatically be donating $5 to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund. Click here for more.


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