Haiti: One Month Later, by the Numbers

By Martha St. Jean 2-15-2010

One month later rain pours into the streets of Port-au-Prince. Some call it "fresh misery." I think, how many more buildings will collapse, how many more people will die? But I also think, how many still have hope? How many will view this rain as a washing away of the things that hurt most?

Stories of survival are continuously recounted. I hear daring feats of escape from collapsing buildings and am saddened by the number of days family members have had to do without food, and I am disturbed over the number of people they have watched die. The story of the devastation in Haiti is at times best chronicled using numerical values.

7.0 -- The magnitude of the earthquake.

21:53:10 UTC -- The time the earthquake struck.

35 -- The number of seconds the earthquake lasted.

230,000 -- The official Haitian government death toll.

1 million -- The number of my countrymen left homeless.

500,000 -- The number of Haitian homeless living in camps.

380,000 -- The number of Haitian orphans.

2 -- The number of dollars many of the island nation's residents lived on per day.

2, 000 -- The estimated number of amputations that have taken place. (This must be much higher, as some hospitals are performing 30-100 per day.)

5,000 -- The estimated number of escaped prisoners.

10 -- The number of years experts say it will take to rebuild.

63 million -- The tons of rubble that need to be removed before the rebuilding can take place.

3 million -- The number of people who need help.

57 million -- The number of dollars initially raised by the Hope for Haiti telethon.

Countless -- the number of prayers lifted up, the number of tears cried, the number of hearts broken in Haiti and all over the diaspora.

portrait-martha-st-jeanMartha St. Jean is a first generation Haitian-American journalist and media analyst based in New York City. She is a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism and earned her undergraduate degree in communications studies at New York University. Follow her on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/MarthaStJean

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