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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Haiti | International | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Racial Justice
Haiti Devastated by Massive Earthquake, Desperate Search for Survivors Continues
Thursday, January 14, 2010 :The death toll rises as Haiti is crushed by a massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake. Bodies lie in the streets as people continue to cry out from underneath the rubble. Little aid has come in as the situation becomes increasingly desperate. The number of dead is almost certainly in the tens of thousands but could be 100,000 or more. We go to Port-au-Prince to get a report from a young American father who is helping to care for the injured in the hotel where he was staying when the quake struck.
In Haiti, the scale of the devastation following Tuesday’s massive earthquake is staggering. The death toll is unknown, it is almost certainly in the tens of thousands but could be 100,000 or more. Bodies lie in the streets amid collapsed buildings and the cries of people buried beneath rubble continue to ring out. The situation is increasingly desperate, with no coordinated rescue plan so far and aid only trickling in. A desperate search for survivors continues but rescuers lack heavy lifting equipment and are often using their bare hands.
Much of the capital city Port-au-Prince has been leveled leaving tens of thousands of people homeless. The city’s infrastructure took a blow of incalculable proportions as hospital, schools, hotels and markets have crumbled. The city’s main prison also collapsed as did several Roman Catholic Archdiocese buildings. The city’s archbishop is dead. The chief of the UN mission remains missing. President René Préval described stepping over bodies and hearing the cries of those trapped under the rubble of the national Parliament.
The World Health Organisation said it had sent specialists to help clear the city of corpses, and the International Red Cross was sending a plane loaded mainly with body bags.
The 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck close to 5pm on Tuesday about 10 miles from Port-au-Prince. It was Haiti’s worst earthquake in two centuries. Dozens of aftershocks measuring up to 5.9 in magnitude have rattled the city. Many people are gathered in parks, either sleeping on the ground or under makeshift tents as they wait for aid to arrive.
Plane-loads of rescuers and relief supplies are said to be on the way from the EU, Canada, Russia and Latin American nations. Two US aircraft carriers are also expected to arrive soon.
With communications largely down, it has been very difficult to reach people on the ground in Haiti. But late last night Democracy Now spoke to a young father named Jesse Hagopian in Port-Au-Prince over the phone. Jesse had been visiting Haiti from Washington state along with his wife and one-year-old child. For the past two days he has helped care for the injured.
Jesse Hagopian, visiting Haiti from Washington state along with his wife and one-year-old child.
Thursday, January 14, 2010 :Journalist and author Naomi Klein spoke in New York last night and addressed the crisis in Haiti: "We have to be absolutely clear that this tragedy -- which is part natural, part unnatural -- must, under no circumstances, be used to, one, further indebt Haiti and, two, to push through unpopular corporatist policies in the interest of our corporations. This is not conspiracy theory they have done it again and again."
Naomi Klein, author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”
Thursday, January 14, 2010 :We speak with Congressmember Maxine Waters (D - CA) about the U.S. and international aid response to Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti. As of Thursday morning, little aid has arrived and a desperate search for survivors continues.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D - CA),
Report from Haiti: Desperate Call for Aid with Rescue Equipment, Medicine, Food & Water in Short Supply
Thursday, January 14, 2010 :Much of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince has been leveled by Tuesday's earthquake, leaving as many as 100,000 people dead and tens of thousands of people homeless. As of Thursday morning, little aid has arrived in Haiti. Planeloads of rescuers and relief supplies are said to be on the way from the US, EU, Canada, Russia and Latin American nations. We go to Port-au-Prince to speak with independent journalist Ansel Herz.
Ansel Herz, independent journalist who has lived in Haiti since September.
U.S. Policy in Haiti Over Decades "Lays the Foundation for Why Impact of Natural Disaster is So Severe"
Thursday, January 14, 2010 :We discuss the situation in Haiti following Tuesday's massive earthquake as well as the history of Haiti with two guests who have spent a lot of time there: Bill Quigley, the legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and Brian Concannon, director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.