First off, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of those effected by the horrific earthquake and series of aftershocks located near Port-au-Prince Haiti January 12, 2010.

Overview of the Quake:
The earthquake struck Port-au-Price Haiti at just before 5:00 PM local time. According to news sources the quake was a shallow quake and the main quake measured a 7.0. There were numerous aftershocks with the major ones measuring close to 6.0.

Effects in the Dominican Republic:
Many Dominican Republic residents felt the earthquake. In Santo Domingo estimates are that the earthquake measured somewhere between a 3.0 and 4.0.

The wide spread feeling in the country is one of great sorrow and prayer for the injured and their families. The Dominican government has declared that it will assist in any way it can to provide supplies and personnel to assist in the recovery efforts in Haiti. According to news sources the Dominican Republic was the first to respond to the disaster and has remained a vital part of the relief efforts. In addition to the Dominican government's efforts, many Dominican Republic residents are sending water and food supplies to various collections locations around the country so they can be sent to the crisis zone.

The response from the citizens of the Dominican Republic has been overwhelming. Individuals, companies, and the government are all involved in helping out their injured neighbor. The earthquake and what the country can do to help out its neighbor are just about the only topics discussed in the Dominican Republic. Everyone is praying, collecting items to donate, and planning for how they can be of assistance.

As far as I can tell there has not been any major damage in the Dominican Republic. There are several reports of cracks in buildings, but no major damage or injuries have occurred in the Dominican Republic.

My personal experience: (Written January 13, 2010)
I was working in my home office in Santo Domingo. The internet went out and I decided to go get a drink from the kitchen when I noticed I was having a hard time standing up. It felt like I was kind of dizzy or something was wrong in my head.

I decided to go to my bedroom and take something because I felt like I had a headache. When I entered my room I noticed there was a bottle of water on my bedside table that was rocking quite a bit. I also noticed several metal objects in the closet were knocking against the wall.

At the time, I did not know it was an earthquake. I thought it was wind blowing through our apartment, so I closed the windows and continued on to the kitchen.

It was not until about an hour later that I got internet back and was able to find out there had indeed been an earthquake. It was at this time that things started to move very quickly. I believe the quake took place at around 6:00 PM in the Dominican Republic. I found out there was a quake at just after 7:00 PM.

I immediately headed to the internet to find out what was going on. The news in the Dominican Republic and the government was very strongly encouraging people in the Dominican Republic to beware because there was a tsunami warning. I quickly found the warning, which stated that the first wave of the potential tsunami would hit Santo Domingo at 7:38 PM, which was less than 40 minutes away.

I started to call family members who live close to the ocean to get them to go to come over to our place, which is on much higher ground. We ended up having 7 family members spend the night with us and ended up passing the evening playing games and talking.

The tsunami ended up being less than a foot tall, so its effects were nil.

Looking back on the response by the Dominican Government, I am happy they were very quickly warning residents of the potential for a tsunami. I was impressed how quickly they got the word out. The biggest problems I noticed were the lack of cell phone space. Most of the carriers were way over capacity and it was hard to get calls in or out. Also, in my house the internet went out and was gone all night. For me, the lack of internet made it difficult to let family know we were alright. It also made it hard to find out what was going on.

(January 17, 2010)
I have been watching the Dominican Republic's response to the earthquake this past week and have to say I am amazed at how much the country has done to help with the recovery efforts. Today, I was able to go to the Santo Domingo airport and see first hand what the country is doing. I saw two entire lines of cargo planes lined up on the airfield. According to people I asked, the planes were from Brasil, Spain, and the United States. I understand that the Santo Domingo Airport has received many planes filled with supplies and while I was there a security officer stated that there were currently 200 planes at the airport related to the relief efforts.

In addition to the planes I witnessed at the Santo Domingo Airport, the Dominican Republic is currently hosting more than 2000 planes at airfields around the country. The country is assisting its neighbor by allowing injured to be treated in its hospitals.

While I was at the airport I was able to see the airplane of Hilary Clinton, a small UN relief plane, as well as dozens of other much larger cargo relief craft land and take off.

(February 24, 2010)
Commercial flights to Puerto Prince Haiti have started again so the load of relief related traffic to Santo Domingo has started to subside. I have friends who are in Haiti this week helping to reconstruct an orphanage. From the reports I have been getting there is not a proper way to describe the destruction Haiti has received.

Best Wishes,
Ross Weber - Dominican Republic