Earthquake hits Haiti.

by Jesse Giglio

"We are closely monitoring the situation and we stand ready to assist the people of Haiti," President Obama said in a statement.

I love this statement.  Is it generic and the correct thing to say in response?  Sure.  But often the "right things to say" are right for a reason.  And for one, I second that response.

Stand ready.


A powerful earthquake of 7.0 magnitude rocked Haiti just before 5 p.m. Eastern time, 10 miles southwest from the highly populated capital of Port-au-Prince, according to the United States Geological Survey, causing widespread damage and panic with the potential for a high number of casualties in the impoverished Caribbean country.

There were two aftershocks — of 5.5 and 5.9 magnitude — that followed in the last hour, and more were expected, according to David Wald, a seismologist with the survey.

“The main issue here will probably be shaking,” Mr. Wald said, “and this is an area that is particularly vulnerable in terms of construction practice, and with a highly population density. There could be a high number of casualties.”

The city has about 2 million people, according to National Geographic.

According to several news reports, a large hospital in the capital had collapsed, and people were screaming in streets full of rubble.

By LIZ ROBBINS - New York Times