Q&A About Haiti Quake
Questions answered, like why wasn't the Dominican Republic hit?
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2010 6:51 PM CST
Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort, which will soon be in Haitian waters.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Confused about why the Haitian earthquake didn't also hit the Dominican Republic or cause a tsunami? Slate provides answers:

  • Why so much destruction? Haiti has no national building codes, and though some follow best practices, inspection is almost nonexistent.
  • Why wasn't the DR affected? It was, but most of the population of the Dominican Republic lives near the capital, Santo Domingo, more than 150 miles from the epicenter. Port-au-Prince was just 10 miles away.

  • Why no tsunami? Underwater quakes cause the earth's plates to shift vertically, resulting in devastating waves. The Haiti quake occurred underneath land and shifted the plates side to side.
  • Is it better to be in a city, or outside? Poorly constructed city buildings are as much of a risk as shacks in the hinterland: "The height and location of a building matter less than how well it's built."
  • What's a "hospital ship?" It's a hospital ship. The USNS Comfort is en route to Haiti and has 1,000 beds, is state of the art, and has 1,400 staff.
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