Léogâne (Haitian Creole: Leyogàn) is a seaside town in Ouest Department, Haïti. It is located in the eponymous arrondissement, the Léogâne Arrondissement. The port town is located about 29 km (18 miles) West of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The town was at the epicenter of the 12 January 2010 earthquake, and was catastrophically affected, with 80-90% of buildings damaged. It also had been destroyed in an earthquake in 1770.
Léogâne is the birthplace of the Taíno queen Anacaona (the town was originally called the Amerindian name Yaguana and the city's name is a corruption of that) as well as Marie-Claire Heureuse Félicité, the wife of the Haitian revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines (1758).
Charlemagne Péralte, the leader of the Haitian resistance to the U.S. occupation that had started in 1915, had been a military officer stationed in Léogâne. He resigned from the military, refusing to surrender to the U.S. troops without a fight. Afterwards he returned to his native town of Hinche and began leading the Cacos against the occupation forces.
Prior to the 12 January 2010 earthquake the city had a nursing school. There was also an old hospital, Sainte-Croix (Holy Cross), but it had closed two years previously. The centerpiece of the city was the Sainte Rose de Lima School.
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Léogâne was at the epicenter of the 7.0 magnitude 12 January 2010 earthquake, and a United Nations assessment team that investigated three main towns near Port-au-Prince found that Léogâne was "the worst affected area" with 80 to 90% of buildings damaged and no remaining government infrastructure. Nearly every concrete structure was destroyed. The damage was also reported to be worse than the capital. The military estimated that 20,000 to 30,000 people had died from the earthquake in Léogâne. People have congregated in ad hoc squatter camps and relief has taken longer to reach Léogâne.
In the wake of the temblor destroying municipal buildings, city hall was moved to a telecommunications building. Among the facilities destroyed in the quake was the Sainte Rose de Lima School, considered the emotional heart of the city. The main commercial strip, the "Grand Rue" was also collapsed. Saint Croix Hospital was also partially demolished. The "court of the peace" building was destroyed in the temblor.
British urban search and rescue teams with Rapid-UK along with the Icelandic search and rescue team were the first to reach the destroyed town on January 17, 2010. The Canadian destroyer HMCS Athabaskan first reached the area on Tuesday, January 19. The Athabaskan's crew of 280 have been tasked to supply humanitarian aid to the city and assist in relief efforts. A Japanese field hospital, Sri Lankan peacekeeper unit, and an Argentine White Helmets field hospital are already in the field treating survivors, the Japanese and Argentinians had arrived on the 18th. The Canadian Medical Assistance Team (CMAT) arrived on the 19th, and set to work performing surgeries.
The missionaries of World Wide Village, set up outpatient clinics beside the Japanese Red Cross at the nursing school in Leogane within days after the earthquake. Volunteer medical personal together with teams of volunteer surgeons from World Wide Village and Notre Dame, thousands of patients have been seen and treated. World Wide Village brought in a Field Hospital which began full operation in Late February, 2010, the new, "Hospital St. Croix." World Wide Village and Notre Dame University continue to send teams to the nursing school/field hospital to meet ongoing health care needs in Leogane.
As Léogâne has no airport, the Canadians began using the small strip at Jacmel to avoid the bottleneck in Port au Prince, and had 250-300 personnel there the next day. The Canadian 1 Field Hospital is being deployed to Léogâne. The Cuban military set up a field hospital in the region.
Canadian soldiers are providing security for food distribution points. The Canadian medical facility is located near the Japanese field hospital, which is next to the nursing school, which has been turned into a hospital. Canada has deployed the Van Doos, a Canadian infantry regiment, to help with recovery efforts. Haitian Girl Guides and Boy Scouts are providing crowd control at some food distribution points.
With no airport in Léogâne, any aid needing to be airlifted in needs to be carried by helicopter, or through use of small planes on makeshift landing strips. The highway, Route 9, at Léogâne, was cordoned off by UN Peacekeepers to use as such a landing strip.
The Korean government announced it would deploy 250 peacekeepers to the region in February, composed mostly of engineers, with some medical troops, and marines for security. The mission comprises 120 military engineers, 22 medics and a 1,200 tonne-freighter filled with supplies and equipment. As of 18 February 2010, the Korean Peacekeepers had started work on building a hospital. On 27 February 2010, 190 South Korean Peacekeepers left home for deployment in Leogane. By 28 February 2010, 240 members of South Korean Peacekeepers (Task Force Danbi / Operation Danbi) had arrived.
As of 9 February 2010, the US 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit was rotating out of Haiti, having been replaced by the US 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, in their position on USS Bataan and Carrefour, Leogane and Petit-Goave, Grand-Goave.
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-  (primary source)
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- The Louverture Project Wiki
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