Thousands Feared Dead After Haitian Earthquake
The 7.0 magnitude quake that struck Tuesday is most powerful to hit the Caribbean nation in 200 years.
VOA News 13 January 2010
Haitians are lining bodies along the streets of Port-au-Prince, where thousands are feared dead after a massive earthquake destroyed much of the capital.
The 7.0 magnitude quake that struck Tuesday was the most powerful to hit the Caribbean nation in 200 years.
The temblor collapsed the presidential palace, ministries, homes, schools, monuments and the city's largest hospital.
The International Red Cross says up to 3 million people have been affected.
Bodies were pulled Wednesday from the collapsed United Nations headquarters in Port-au-Prince. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says more than 100 U.N. personnel are missing, including the mission chief, Hedi Annabi.
Mr. Ban is dispatching Annabi's predecessor, Edmond Mulet, to the island.
The Brazilian military says four Brazilian peacekeepers died in the quake. Roman Catholic missionaries with the Saint Jacque Society say the archbishop of Port-Au-Prince, Monsignor Serge Miot, also is among the dead.
About 3,000 U.N. peacekeepers are based in Port-au-Prince. They are clearing roads to assist search and rescue teams.
Haitians walk past damaged buildings in Port-au-Prince, 12 Jan 2010
The work is difficult, however, as rubble is everywhere and communication and power lines are out across the city.
The disaster has spread beyond the capital. A Haitian woman, who lives 19 kilometers east of Port-au-Prince, told VOA Creole Service her brother and nephew are trapped under rubble. She said late Tuesday their voices could be heard but nobody could reach them.
The Red Cross says there is an urgent need for search and rescue volunteers as well as field hospitals, emergency health, water purification and telecommunications. Offers of international aid are pouring in.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Recent development efforts have suffered severe setbacks because of political violence, lawlessness, corruption and natural disasters.