People in lesser developed countries like Haiti (the lowest in North America and ranked 149 lowest of 182 in the world in human development) don't have daily choices that involve comfort or safety. The construction in Haiti is not reinforced concrete (no metal rebar inside) so it just crumbles and collapses in upon itself. It takes powerful equipment to clear the rubble and even get at possible survivors. The news photos may look less devastating that the tangled earthquake messes we are used to seeing on TV, but it actually is much more severe. When the population density is so high, and places so crowded, catastrophe can be an understatement. There was little the poor people of Haiti could do, even when geologists predicated a strong earthquake was eventually coming. The epicentre (major point) of the quake was just 25 km or 15 miles south west of Port au Prince, Haiti's capital city with a population of just over 700,000.
The quake was very severe set at value of 7 currently on the moment magnitude scale. The aftershocks of this recent Haiti earthquake that themselves would be considered severe on their own that we in Canada or the USA would call major earthquakes on the news.
There is still a lot going on ... and many more geographically centered links can be found at Google Maps Mania.
The Wikipedia page on the Haitian earthquake has many definitions and links as well as maps that can be enlarged.
To better understand how earthquakes are measured be sure to read about the Richter Magnitude Scale and Mercalli Intensity Scale.
The conservative estimates are 50,000 dead, which is almost half the population of Waterloo, Ontario. This doesn't take into account the whole population, or project for looked possible tsunamis (seismic tidal waves) or future aftershocks. More may perish as hospitals are not functional and transporting aid in and injured out is problematic due the poor and now damaged infrastructure.
Amongst the confirmed dead are 3 Canadians. It has hit closer to home as I have heard that a friend's mom was on the medical mission team where a local nurse was killed in the quake. Another friend's mom was already scheduled for more nursing help on another mission next week. Still another friend prays for news and safety of her compassion sponsor child.
Here are a couple links compassionate response to the earthquake in Haiti.
Definitely we should be praying and looking to see what ways we can show compassion and support for those affected by the Haiti earthquakes, in a country that was already struggling apart from recent natural disasters.