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Haiti Earthquake: Tsunami Warnings Issued for Jamaica, Cuba

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An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 hit the Caribbean island of Haiti about 5:00 pm; at this point, there is much confusion as people are trying to make contact with their friends and family.

One of the latest updates on the Haitian earthquake states that the capital city of Port au Prince has been “catastrophically” damaged.  The earthquake damaged many buildings including the presidential palace, CNN cited Haiti’s Ambassador to Washington DC as saying.

The Haiti earthquake reportedly killed many people.  Currently, power is out everywhere and people are in the dark waiting for help, the devastation is expected to be tremendous.

The US Agency for International Development has already been requested to help out the financially depleted region, which has never experienced an earthquake of this magnitude.  The Agency has search dogs, instruments and equipment that are able to detect structures on the verge of collapse as well as survivors amidst the rubble.

In response to the disaster, U.S. President Barack Obama was cited as saying his "thoughts and prayers" were with the Haitian people and pledged immediate aid.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. would give both military and civilian assistance to Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

The Haiti earthquake came with aftershocks, which could be followed by a tsunami.  Although tsunamis are more prevalent in the Pacific Ocean, tsunami warnings have been issued for Cuba and Jamaica.

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, which had an epicenter off of the west coast of Indonesia, produced a series of Tsunamis and earthquakes as far away as the state of Alaska.  The disaster occurred several hours after the earthquake; although this would seem to be an ample amount of time to issue warnings, there was no protocol for threat detection in the Indian Ocean.

By Rachel Stockton

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