Haiti is in Ruins & Misery .... rocked by Aftershocks in the dead of night. The World Responds To An Island Nation's Plight .... yet it took a 7.0 Earthquake to Capture It's Attention .... Haiti was already among the worlds poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere. Three million Haitians have been affected by this Quake.
Synopsis of Quake + Update Followed By Charts & Chart Data
The quake struck at 4:53 p.m., centered 10 miles (15 kilometers) west of Port-au-Prince at a depth of only 5 miles (8 kilometers), the U.S. Geological Survey
said. USGS geophysicist Kristin Marano called it the strongest
earthquake since 1770 in what is now Haiti.
Video obtained by the AP showed a huge dust cloud rising over Port-au-Prince shortly after the quake as buildings collapsed.
Most Haitians are desperately poor, and after years of political instability
the country has no real construction standards. In November 2008,
following the collapse of a school in Petionville, the mayor of
Port-au-Prince estimated about 60 percent of buildings were shoddily
built and unsafe normally.
The quake was felt in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, and in eastern Cuba, but no major damage was reported in either place.
With electricity out in many places and phone service erratic,
it was nearly impossible for Haitian or foreign officials to get full
details of the devastation.
"Everybody is just totally, totally freaked out and shaken," said Henry Bahn, a U.S. Department of Agriculture official in Port-au-Prince. "The sky is just gray with dust."
Haitians piled bodies along the devastated
streets of their capital Wednesday after a powerful earthquake crushed
thousands of structures, from schools and shacks to the National Palace and the U.N. peacekeeping headquarters. Untold numbers were still trapped.
President Rene Preval said he believes thousands of people were dead from Tuesday afternoon's magnitude-7.0 quake.
"Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed," Preval told the Miami Herald. "There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them."
The Roman Catholic archbishop of Port-au-Prince was among the dead, and the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission was missing.
The international Red Cross said a third of Haiti's 9 million people may need emergency aid and that it would take a day or two for a clear picture of the damage to emerge.
Aftershocks continued to rattle the capital of 2 million people as
women covered in dust clawed out of debris, wailing. Stunned people
wandered the streets holding hands. Thousands gathered in public
squares to sing hymns.
People pulled bodies
from collapsed homes, covering them with sheets by the side of the
road. Passers-by lifted the sheets to see if loved ones were
underneath. Outside a crumbled building, the bodies of five children
and three adults lay in a pile.
died along with the poor: the body of Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, 63,
was found in the ruins of his office, said the Rev. Pierre Le Beller of
the Saint Jacques Missionary Center in Landivisiau, France. He told The Associated Press by telephone that fellow missionaries in Haiti had told him they found Miot's body.
Preval told the Herald that Haiti's Senate president was among those trapped alive inside the Parliament building. Much of the National Palace pancaked on itself.
The international Red Cross and other aid groups announced plans for major relief operations in the Western Hemisphere's poorest country.
"Haiti has moved to center of the world's thoughts and the world's compassion," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said.
of thousands of people lost their homes as buildings that were flimsy
and dangerous even under normal conditions collapsed. Nobody offered an
estimate of the dead, but the numbers were clearly enormous.
hospitals cannot handle all these victims," said Dr. Louis-Gerard
Gilles. "Haiti needs to pray. We all need to pray together."
American aid worker was trapped for about 10 hours under the rubble of
her mission house before she was rescued by her husband, who told CBS'
"Early Show" that he drove 100 miles (160 kilometers) to Port-au-Prince
to find her. Frank Thorp said he dug for more than an hour to free his
wife, Jillian, and a co-worker, from under about a foot of concrete.
An estimated 40,000-45,000 Americans live in Haiti, and the
U.S. Embassy had no confirmed reports of deaths among its citizens. All
but one American employed by the embassy have been accounted for, State
Department officials said.
Even relatively wealthy neighborhoods were devastated.
An AP videographer saw a wrecked hospital where people screamed
for help in Petionville, a hillside district that is home to many
diplomats and wealthy Haitians as well as the poor. "A school near here collapsed totally," Petionville resident Ken Michel
said after surveying the damage. "We don't know if there were any
children inside." He said many seemingly sturdy homes nearby were split
Associated Press videographer Pierre Richard Luxama in Port-au-Prince
and AP writers David Koop and Olga R. Rodriguez in Mexico City; David
McFadden and Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Matthew Lee in Washington; Tamara Lush in Tampa, Fla.; and Jennifer Kay and Christine Armario in Miami contributed to this report.
UPDATE: 21 JAN 2010 What's it like in Haiti today?
By Catherine Bremer PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan 21 (Reuters)
squats to defecate yards away from a sidewalk where women press
plantain into bite-sized pieces for frying and a naked toddler plays
with a pile of rice on the filthy ground. Nearby, a dead body
has been dumped on the street, right in front of a sea of morose people
sitting on grubby mattresses, and a garbage collector uses a shovel to
scoop up soggy black mounds of putrid trash composed of plastic water
bags, polystyrene plates, orange peel and tin cans. Stray dogs forage.
Sanitary conditions in tent cities like this one in Port-au-Prince's
once elegant Champs de Mars park around Haiti's crumbled presidential
palace are worsening by the day as hundreds of thousands of survivors
of last week's earthquake cram together to eat, sleep, wash and
"It's miserable here. It's dirty and it's boring.
There's nothing to do but walk about," said Judeline Pierre-Rose, 12,
who misses her comfortable home with its couch and TV. "People go to the toilet everywhere here and I'm scared of getting sick. My twin sisters vomited last night," she said.
Rescue teams and food aid have poured into Haiti since the Jan. 12
magnitude 7.0 earthquake devastated the capital. They are burying the
dead and attending to the injured, but they must also deal with an
estimated one million people made homeless by the quake are having to
fend for themselves.
Hundreds of thousands have
used mattresses to mark out open-air living areas on blocked-off roads
and grassy areas between dead zones of earthquake rubble in
Port-au-Prince. they have also built crude tents by tying bed sheets to
At the Champs de Mars, one family has propped the
scavenged cabin of a smashed up pick-up truck on chunks of concrete
debris to make a makeshift house with a wooden plank for a door.
Nearby, an entrepreneur is renting out a generator for people to charge
Aid group Action Against Hunger has installed
water distribution points at the camp where people crowd round with
buckets, but emergency latrines have yet to be installed.
large area around a small cluster of tatty and overflowing public
toilets is full of clumps of human excrement and dirty tissues. A large
public fountain where many strip off to wash has turned an opaque dark
green covered with scum and garbage.
"It's a catastrophe. It's
dangerous because health is a very precious thing and you can't have
all these people living near trash and dead bodies. It could spark an
epidemic," said Gelin Wesnel, 34, a local Haitian Scout in full uniform
manning a first aid tent nearby.
As families settle in after
nine days camped out -- preparing food on the dirty ground, cooking on
charcoal fires and walking about in flip-flops through toxic dark gray
puddles, nobody is doing anything about hygiene.
"It's up to the
government to resolve this kind of problem, they must take
responsibility and tell us what to do," said Wesnel. Then he added:
"Maybe they are in the middle of working out a plan." (Editing by
Pascal Fletcher and Philip Barbara)
Click Image To Enlarge: Presidential Palace: "BEFORE"
Click Image to Enlarge: Presidential Palace: "AFTER"