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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
Q&A About Haiti Quake
Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort, which will soon be in Haitian waters.   (AP Photo)

(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.

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  • 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.
For more, click here.
(Read more Haiti earthquake stories.)

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