Haiti Earthquake by the Numbers


The Haiti earthquake was an unspeakable tragedy, causing so much heartache, especially to people in the grip of poverty. The numbers below help me get a handle on the scope of this event, in a more analytical way, but don’t begin to touch on the personal stories and needs of those we love in Haiti. The numbers also put in perspective how fortunate I truly am to be alive, a mystery I am still learning about.

These numbers are accurate to the best of my knowledge as of 3/10/10. Please let me know if you are aware of conflicting numbers (but provide a source, please). I will update them from time to time.

7.0 – The earthquake that hit Haiti was one of the most severe earthquakes in recorded history.

15 miles from Port-au-Prince – The earthquake’s proximity to Haiti’s capital was one of the reasons for its devastating impact.

6.2 miles underground – The trembler was more shallow than many earthquakes, which increased the damage.

35 seconds – The length of the earthquake (I only felt the first few seconds since the building collapsed right away).

240 years ago – The last time Haiti experienced a significant earthquake.

217,000 – the current death toll, according to the state dept. (3/10/10)

5 million – number of people affected by the earthquake, according to the state dept.

600,000 – Haitians living in Port-Au-Prince’s tent cities, now facing health and security issues, as well as the onset of the rainy season.

600,000 – Port-Au-Prince residents, mostly poor, who have relocated to the countryside, which could bring more risk of malnutrition and other challenges.

97,294 – number of houses destroyed by the earthquake. 188,383 were damaged. Source

135 – I am humbled and shocked to know that I am one of only 135 people throughout Haiti to be rescued from the rubble, according to the best estimates I have found.

3 days – experts say few people were rescued after 3 days trapped (most rescued after that were featured in news reports).

15 days after (Jan 27) – the last (unquestioned) rescue, a 15-yr-old girl

27 days after (Feb. 10) – possibly the final rescue. According to reports, a man on the outside regularly brought him water. Some believe he was not trapped by the earthquake, but sometime after.

1/2 – One half of all US households have given private donations to help Haiti.

$700 million – aid provided by US govt. to Haiti in aftermath of the quake


1968 – Year Compassion’s work in Haiti began. They are there for the long haul!

65,000 – Number of children in Haiti that Compassion is helping to permanently break their cycle of poverty. Want to help?

4592 – Number of mothers and babies cared for in Compassion’s Child Survival Program in Haiti. Support them in this critical time!

230 – Compassion International delivers its ministry to Haitian children through 230 local partner churches. This enables them to deliver help directly to the most needy, even in crisis situations.

80%+ – Amount of each donation to Compassion that goes to ministry needs.


65 hours (2 days, 17 hours) – time I was trapped under the Hotel Montana

3 – Military survival training talks about The Rule of 3:

People cannot survive:
3 seconds without Spirit and Hope,
3 minutes without Air,
3 hours without Shelter in Extreme Conditions,
3 days (75 hours) without Water,
3 weeks without Food,
3 months without Companionship or Love
(from The Survivor’s Club by Ben Sherwood)

3 seconds – time it took for 6 stories of Hotel Montana to collapse above me.

2 minutes – I was dropped off at the hotel less than 2 minutes before the quake hit. If I had arrived 2 minutes later, I might have escaped unharmed and found ways to help others. 2 minutes earlier, I might have died in my room.

7 minutes – 7 minutes after the main quake, a 6.0 aftershock knocked a wall down where I had my leg pinned at first. By this time I had moved to the elevator and was praying and attending to my wounds.

9″ x 3″ – the cut on my calf that sliced through nerves and muscle to my bone. I don’t know exactly what caused it.

6 hours – Medical textbooks say an open wound must be cleaned and closed within 6 hours, or infection is guaranteed to set in. Obviously I had no ways to clean and sew closed my leg or head wound, and they were very dirty with lots of debris in them, yet after 65+ hours (it was a few hours after my rescue before they were treated) they never got infected (and neither did any of the dozens of smaller cuts all over my body). Miracle? Answer to prayer?

Let me know if you know of corrections or other vital numbers I might add to this list (no promises, though) 😉

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