Posted by: Aunt Magaidh | January 13, 2010

Thinking of Haiti in Northern California Earthquake Country

Living in the earthquake country of Northern California, I shudder at the scenes of the destruction in Haiti after the huge 7.0 earthquake yesterday.  And this was just a couple of days after a 6.5 quake hit Humboldt County here in California.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Richter Scale, the power of quake increases by a factor of 10 each measure. Here is the USGS explanation: “On the Richter Scale, magnitude is expressed in whole numbers and decimal fractions. For example, a magnitude 5.3 might be computed for a moderate earthquake, and a strong earthquake might be rated as magnitude 6.3. Because of the logarithmic basis of the scale, each whole number increase in magnitude represents a tenfold increase in measured amplitude; as an estimate of energy, each whole number step in the magnitude scale corresponds to the release of about 31 times more energy than the amount associated with the preceding whole number value.”  http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/richter.php

The Haiti earthquake was massive.  The disaster is complicated by the poverty of the country.

I am grateful to live here in a country that has building codes and bureaucracy that politicians are convinced are squashing business growth – but it’s those laws and infrastructure systems that keep people safer during these kinds of disasters.  I rode out the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in Oakland (6.9 on the Richter scale) and survived in a community that was relatively unfazed.  I say relatively, because – although there was a collapse of the 880/Cypress Freeway, collapses of buildings in SF and Santa Cruz, fires that destroyed what didn’t fall – our loss of life and infrastructure was minimal compared to what is happening in Haiti.

Here are some links that you might consider checking out to support relief efforts:

I offer a prayer of protection, healing and hope for the people of Haiti.  I’m off to see what I can find to donate.

Magaidh

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