Verum sat crossed-legged in front of her trusty crystal ball. A lot was happening in the world today. But she didn’t know where to start world-gazing. So, she closed her eyes and asked the crystal ball to fetch an important piece of news.

Verum called out to her friends, “Mysticals, Mysticals! Last Saturday, an earthquake of 7.2 magnitude shook Haiti. It is a country in the Caribbean region! It shares the island of Hispaniola with its neighbor to the east, Dominican Republic.”

Scorch tensed up and said, “That sounds serious, Verum.”

“You’re right. It is serious,” replied Verum, “Due to this massive earthquake, at least 1,419 people lost their lives and about 6,000 people were injured, overwhelming hospitals. Countless are missing. The quake also flattened homes, churches, and schools.”

“So much damage,” whispered a shocked Felix.

“Where was the epicenter of the earthquake, Verum?” said Orak, “An epicenter is a point on the Earth’s surface above the focus of an earthquake. At this point, the waves of the earthquake are the strongest. I recollect there was an earthquake in Haiti in 2010 as well and the epicenter was 25 kilometers from Port-au-Prince, the capital city. About 2,00,000 people lost their lives at that time.”

“This time the epicenter was at a different place. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the epicenter was 12 kilometers away from the town of Saint-Louis du Sud,” said Verum, “But it was so strong that the tremors could be felt 125 kilometers away in Port-au-Prince.”

“Why does Haiti have so many earthquakes?” wondered Felix.

“The Earth is made up of three layers: the core, the mantle, and the crust. The crust is the rocky outer layer. It is broken into about 12 blocks called tectonic plates,” explained Orak, “But these plates aren’t still. They move against each other which causes friction. This is what we call an earthquake. Haiti is located at the intersection of two tectonic plates. That’s why it’s so prone to earthquakes.”

“Rescue efforts are going on with help from the United States (US), Chile, and Mexico while Cuba has sent medical teams,” replied Verum, “But the earthquake will have long-term effects on Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean. It is still reeling from the effects of the 2010 earthquake.”

The Mysticals sat in their dorm room, wondering what they could do to help.