January 12, 2010, the sun is low on the horizon when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Haiti.
For comparison, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that flattened a section of freeway in the San Francisco Bay area and caused a section of the Bay Bridge to collapse, was 6.9. The Northridge quake of 1994 that flattened freeways and buildings was 6.7. And California leads the nation in building codes for earthquake safety.
But in Haiti, seismic safety was not part of the building codes and plans when many of the homes were built.
There was an immediate outpouring of relief efforts, and much aid was promised. But unfortunately for Haitians, most of the U.S relief funds promised were held up in the Senate by Republican obstructionism. Much of the country remains unrebuilt, and cholera outbreaks are not uncommon.
This is our Open Thread. Feel free to write on this or any other topic that comes to mind.