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9pm EST, January 12, 2010 - A large earthquake struck close to Port-au-Prince, Haiti late this afternoon. The current United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimate is that the quake was a Magnitude 7.0 event at 10km depth just 15km southwest of Port-au-Prince. We have not yet been able to make contact with anyone in Haiti, but initial news wire reports suggest major if not catastrophic damage in the capital, and particularly in the areas of Pétion-Ville and Carrefour on the southern side of the city.

The earthquake shaking was felt strongly in the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Jamaica, although little to no damage is expected outside of Haiti. The earthquake appears to have occurred along the Enriquillo Fault Zone, which runs east-west along Haiti’s southwest peninsula. Although smaller earthquakes are relatively common in Haiti, the last major earthquake to affect the country was in 1842 (devastating Cap Haïtian in the north). Two large earthquakes in the middle of the 18th Century occurred close to Port-au-Prince, likely along the same fault line, and caused widespread devastation. These occurred in 1751 and 1770 and both had an estimated magnitude of 7.5.

CCRIF, through its Facility Supervisor, is closely monitoring the situation. Haiti purchased both hurricane and earthquake parametric coverage from CCRIF, and initial earthquake magnitude/ location estimates from the USGS suggest that a payout will be triggered. CCRIF will announce a preliminary payout estimate within the next several days, with the final calculation and payout made available to Haiti after 14 days.

About CCRIF: CCRIF is a risk pooling facility, owned, operated and registered in the Caribbean for Caribbean governments. It is designed to limit the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes and earthquakes to Caribbean governments by quickly providing short term liquidity when a policy is triggered. It is the world’s first and, to date, only regional fund utilising parametric insurance, giving Caribbean governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake and hurricane catastrophe coverage with lowest-possible pricing. CCRIF represents a paradigm shift in the way governments treat risk, with Caribbean governments leading the way in pre-disaster planning.

Sixteen governments are members of the fund: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands. In 2007, CCRIF paid out almost $1 Million to the Dominican and St Lucian governments after the November 29, 2007 earthquake in the eastern Caribbean, and in 2008, CCRIF paid out $6.3 Million to the Turks & Caicos Islands after Hurricane Ike made a direct hit on Grand Turk.

For more information, contact Simon Young at or at 202-465-4301.