monster killer 7.0 earthquake hits Haiti; could be 'catastrophe,' official says - cleveland are you prepared

Submitted by Quest-News-Serv... on Tue, 01/12/2010 - 19:07.

 This photo provided by Carel Pedre shows people running past ...(CNN) -- A major earthquake struck southern Haiti on Tuesday, knocking down buildings and inflicting a catastrophe on the impoverished Caribbean nation, its ambassador to the United States said.

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This photo provided by Carel Pedre shows people running past rubble of a damaged building in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010. The largest earthquake ever recorded in the area shook Haiti on Tuesday, collapsing a hospital where people screamed for help.

(AP Photo/Carel Pedre)

haiti.earthquake.t1larg.gifsador (CNN) -- A major earthquake struck southern Haiti on Tuesday, knocking down buildings and inflicting a catastrophe on the impoverished Caribbean nation, its ambassador to the United States said.

7.0 quake hits Haiti; could be 'catastrophe,' official says

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January 12, 2010 7:00 p.m. EST

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  • Earthquake struck just off coast of capital Port-au-Prince on Tuesday
  • Sparked a tsunami watch for parts of the Caribbean, says USGS
  • The Associated Press reported that a hospital had collapsed
  • "The only thing I can do now is pray and hope for the best," says Haitian ambassador to U.S.

Editor's note: Watch continuing coverage of the earthquake in Haiti on CNN.

(CNN) -- A major earthquake struck southern Haiti on Tuesday, knocking down buildings and inflicting a catastrophe on the impoverished Caribbean nation, its ambassador to the United States said.

"The only thing I can do now is pray and hope for the best," the ambassador, Raymond Joseph, told CNN.

The magnitude 7.0 quake struck about 10 miles (15 kilometers) southwest of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince shortly before 5 p.m. Joseph said he had little information about the extent of damage from the quake, but one government official -- the only one he was able to reach -- told him houses had crumbled "on the right side of the street and the left side of the street."

"He said it is a catastrophe of major proportions," Joseph said.

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A hospital collapsed from the quake, The Associated Press reported.

Frank Williams, the Haitian director of the relief agency World Vision International, said the quake left people "pretty much screaming" all around Port-au-Prince. He said the agency's building shook for about 35 seconds, "and portions of things on the building fell off."

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Video: 7.0 quake in Haiti

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Interactive: Measuring earthquakes

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"None of our staff were injured, but lots of walls are falling down," Williams said. "Many of our staff have tried to leave, but were unsuccessful because the walls from buildings and private residences are falling into the streets, so that it has pretty much blocked significantly most of the traffic."

The quake was centered about 6 miles (10 kilometers) underground, according to the USGS. A magnitude 5.9 aftershock followed soon afterward, about 30 miles further west, followed by a 5.5 aftershock closer to the location of the first quake.

"There is a kind of wail as people are very frightened by it," Williams said of the aftershocks. "But most people are out in the streets and just kind of looking up."

The Rev. Kesner Ajax, executive director of a school in the southwestern city of Cayes, said several people were hurt when they rushed to get out of the building. Two homes in the area collapsed and the top of a church collapsed in a nearby town, he said, but he did not know of any fatalities.

Cayes, a city of about 400,000 people, is about 225 kilometers southwest of Port-au-Prince.Luke Renner, an American staying in Cap-Hatien, a city nearly 100 miles north of Port-au-Prince, said he was sitting at his home when "the whole world started to shake."

"It felt like our whole house was balancing on a beach ball," Renner said. "We heard the whole community screaming and in an uproar during that whole 20- to 30-second window."

"I haven't seen any structural damage here," Renner continued. "With the sun setting it may be difficult to tell. In the morning we'll know for sure."The disaster is the latest to befall Haiti, which has a population of about 9 million people and is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Hurricane Gordon killed more than 1,000 people in 1994, while Hurricane Georges killed more than 400 and destroyed the majority of the country's crops in 1998.

In 2004, heavy rains from Hurricane Jeanne -- which passed north of the country -- caused landslides and flooding that killed more than 3,000 people, mostly in the northwestern city of Gonaives. Gonaives was hit heavily again in 2008, when four tropical systems passed through.

A tsunami watch for Haiti, the Dominican Republic and parts of Cuba following a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck southern Haiti has been canceled, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

CNN's Mallory Simon, Shasta Darlington, Pierre Meilhan and Mike Mount contributed to this report.

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( categories: )

A Meteoroid

Is also scheduled to pass within close range of the Earth--I am headed for your house, Guy--should it hit :)

laura chriss we'er coming to your home now

 laura chriss we'er coming to your home now

yogi and guy

So, What Monster Was Killed???

I sure hope Godzilla was safe back in the sea off Japan at the time...

Have we made a pact with the Devil?

I do expect there will naturally be another significant earthquake here, any time, and I did not make a pact with the Devil.

Disrupt IT

My thoughts and prayers are

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti.

Donations are requested to provide help to the Haitians.  One site to make donations is the Red Cross. 

Give if you can.



or contribute via Partners in Health

Those who know of the work of Dr. Paul Farmer in Haiti (whose work is the subject of Tracy Kidder's book, Mountains Beyond Mountains) and Farmer's lifelong commitment to health and social justice for Haitians and disadvantaged populations throughout the global south may also consider giving here: PIH.

Haiti relief donations before March 2010 - deductible

A friend of mine is an accountant and sent this to me. I know that many of us would be lucky to itemize or have enough cash on hand to make a substantial gift to Haiti relief, but I also know that there are a lot of lurkers here. If you made a gift or are still considering it, and you itemize your taxes, be aware of this. Here you go -

Haiti earthquake relief donations before March 2010 may be deducted on 2009 returns


IR 2010-12 ; P.L. 111-126 , An Act to Accelerate the Income Tax Benefits for Charitable Cash Contributions for the Relief of Victims of the Earthquake in Haiti

Click here for the text of IRS's website “New Tax Break for Contributions to Haiti Earthquake Relief.”

Click here for the text of H.R. 4462 as passed by the House of Representatives.

Click here for the text of JCX-2–10, the Joint Committee on Taxation's Technical Explanation of H.R. 4462.

On Jan. 22, President Obama signed into law H.R. 4462 (the Act, P.L. 111-126 ), which allows taxpayers to claim a charitable contribution deduction in tax year 2009 for donations made through Mar. 1, 2010, for the relief of victims in areas affected by the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti. This option is available only if the contribution is in cash and otherwise meets the requirements for charitable contribution deductions under Code Sec. 170 .

RIA recommendation: Anyone who is contemplating making a contribution to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti should consider doing so before Mar. 1, 2010. If the taxpayer is an individual who itemizes, he will then be in a position to deduct the contribution in either 2009 or 2010, whichever produces the greater tax savings. While tax savings will be realized sooner if 2009 is chosen, a taxpayer may not want to choose 2009 if more taxes would be saved in 2010, taking into account his highest marginal tax bracket in each year. A taxpayer should try to determine whether his income will be much higher (or other deductions much lower) this year than in 2009. Bear in mind that a big capital gain in 2010 could push a taxpayer into a higher bracket even though the gain itself may qualify to be taxed at a maximum rate of 15%; if the adjusted net capital gain would otherwise be taxed at a rate below 25% if it were ordinary income, it is taxed at a zero percent rate.

New law. A charitable deduction is generally only available for the tax year in which the contribution is made. Thus, for a calendar year taxpayer, the tax benefit of a charitable contribution made in January or February often isn't realized until the following calendar year when the tax return is filed. The Act allows taxpayers to treat charitable contributions of cash made after Jan. 11, 2010, and before Mar. 1, 2010 as contributions made on Dec. 31, 2009, if the contributions were for the purpose of providing relief to victims in areas affected by the earthquake in Haiti that occurred on Jan. 12, 2010. (Act §1(a), (b); JCX-2–10, Jan. 20, 2010)

IR 2010-12 , and IRS's website (“New Tax Break for Contributions to Haiti Earthquake Relief.”) provide guidance on the Act's election to claim a qualifying contribution in either 2009 or 2010. It advises that the general rules on claiming a tax deductions for charitable donations still apply: It advises that taxpayers must itemize their deductions on Schedule A. Those claiming the standard deduction, including all short-form filers, aren't eligible. IRS also emphasizes that taxpayers can choose to deduct qualifying Haiti earthquake relief donations on either 2009 or 2010 returns, but the same item can't be claimed for both years.

RIA recommendation: Donors should keep Haiti earthquake relief contribution records for which 2009 deductions are chosen with their 2009 tax documents. This should help prevent the taxpayer from inadvertently attempting to take a double deduction by taking those same contributions in 2010.

RIA observation: The Act doesn't change the charitable contribution percentage limitations and carryover rules. If a taxpayer takes advantage of the law, the 2009 percentage limitations of the taxpayer apply to the contribution and any excess amount is treated as a carryover of a contribution made in 2009.

RIA observation: Presumably, taxpayers can't allocate a portion of a contribution to more than one tax year. A taxpayer who makes multiple contributions may treat each one separately. For example, a taxpayer making three separate gifts of $100 each may treat two gifts as made on Dec. 31, 2009, and one gift as made on the actual date of gift (for example, Jan. 15, 2010).

RIA caution: While taxpayers in States that mirror Federal tax law should expect the same tax treatment for Haiti relief contributions, taxpayers are advised to verify that this State tax treatment in facts applies.

Cash contribution. The law doesn't specifically define “cash contribution.” However, IR 2010-12 , and the explanation on IRS's website explains that this includes contributions made by text message, check, credit card or debit card.

RIA observation: Presumably it also includes money contributions and those made by money order.

RIA observation: A check mailed by Mar. 1, 2010 will qualify for the 2009 deduction even though the charity doesn't cash it until after that date.

Recordkeeping. The Act clarifies that for a cash contribution the Code Sec. 170(f)(17) recordkeeping requirement can be satisfied by a telephone bill if it shows the name of the donee organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution. (Act § 1(c)) Thus, for example, in the case of a charitable contribution made by text message and chargeable to a telephone or wireless account, a bill from the telecommunications company containing the relevant information will satisfy the recordkeeping requirement. (JCX-2-10, Jan. 20, 2010) For cash contributions made by other means, taxpayers should keep a bank record, such as a cancelled check, or a receipt from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. ( IR 2010-12 )

Contributions that qualify for the election. The contributions must be made specifically for the relief of victims in areas affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. It appears that only contributions fully earmarked for the Haiti earthquake relief qualify for the election.

RIA caution: Thus, as IR 2010-12 points out, the election only applies to contributions after Jan. 11, 2010 (i.e., after the earthquake). Further, a contribution made to a fund that generally provides relief for earthquake victims and victims of other disasters may not qualify.

IR 2010-12 , and IRS's website don't further address the earmarking issue. IRS does, however, advise taxpayers to be sure their contributions go to qualified charities. It notes that most organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible donations are listed in a searchable, online database available under “Search for Charities” (,,id=96136,00.html ). But some organizations, such as churches or governments, may be qualified even though they're not listed on IRS's website. Also, the IRS website reminds donors that contributions to foreign organizations generally aren't deductible.

Eligible donors. It should be borne in mind that the election is not limited to individuals. Corporations and other entities also can choose to deduct otherwise deductible earthquake relief contributions as though they were made on Dec. 31, 2009.

References: For charitable contribution deductions, see FTC 2d/FIN ¶  K-2800 et seq.; United States Tax Reporter ¶  1704 et seq.; TaxDesk ¶  330,200 et seq.; TG ¶  18950