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Thread: Quake hits Haiti; reports of "catastrophe of major proportions'' emerging

  1. #1
    Elite Member bychance's Avatar
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    Unhappy Quake hits Haiti; reports of "catastrophe of major proportions'' emerging

    As if they haven't suffered enough.



    By JACQUELINE CHARLES and CAROL ROSENBERG

    jcharles@MiamiHerald.com

    A powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck near the capital of Haiti Tuesday afternoon, crippling the impoverished island nation and knocking out most of its communication with the outside world.


    There were no fatalities reported as of 8 p.m., but there were growing, alarming reports of mass destruction -- a hospital was reported to have collapsed and people were heard screaming for help.


    Sections of the National Palace have crumbled and there were reports of injuries.



    ``There are people injured in the palace,'' said Fritz Longchamp, executive director of the palace. ``I'm calling for help and medical assistance for them.''


    Haitian President René Préval and the First Lady have sought safe haven on the island, The Miami Herald has learned.


    Part of the road to Canape Vert, a suburb of the capital city of Port-au-Prince, has collapsed, as have houses perched in the mountains of Petionville, where the quake was centered. Petionville is a suburb some 10 miles up from downtown from Port-au-Prince.


    Several aftershocks have followed the main 4:53 p.m. earthquake, according to The Associated Press.


    A tsunami warning was briefly issued for the region and a blanket of dust completely covered the city for about 10 minutes, USAID contract employee Mike Godfrey told CNN from Port-au-Prince.


    ``At this point I'm frustrated trying to find colleagues and staff,'' Godfrey said. ``Phones are not working . . . I see some traffic, a little traffic on some of the routes,'' he said.


    Raymond Alcide Joseph, the country's ambassador to the United States, told CNN that the quake has crippled his country.


    ``I spoke to a government official on the island who I reached on his cell phone and he told me: ``Tell the world this is a catastrophe of major proportions.''



    President Barack Obama is said to be monitoring the situation in Haiti, The White House said and the state department is working to confirm the safety of its personnel at the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince.


    ``My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by this earthquake,'' Obama said in a statement. ``We are closely monitoring the situation and we stand ready to assist the people of Haiti.''


    Former President Bill Clinton, U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti, issued a statement offering assistance. ``My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti. My UN office and the rest of the UN system are monitoring the situation, and we are committed to do whatever we can to assist the people of Haiti in their relief, rebuilding and recovery efforts,'' he said.


    In Hawaii, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said America's thoughts were ``with the people of Haiti.''


    In Miami, a prayer service is planned for quake victims at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Cathedral of St. Mary, 7525 NW 2nd Ave. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl), ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said: ``Of one thing you can be sure: Haiti is not alone. The U.S. will move hand in hand with the people of Haiti to swiftly respond to and recover from this tragedy. I call on all responsible nations to work together to implement a response which is immediate, targeted, coordinated, and resilient.''


    The American Red Cross was poised to move aid from a warehouse in Panama -- blankets, kitchen sets and water containers for about 5,000 families -- as soon as a flight or means of delivery could be found, said Eric Porterfield in Washington D.C.
    The Press Association: Obama offers quake aid to Haiti

    President Barack Obama said his thoughts and prayers were with the people of Haiti and the United States stands ready to help after a strong earthquake hit the impoverished island nation.


    White House officials said Mr Obama also had asked aides to ensure personnel at the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince were safe.
    There are fewer than 20 US military personnel in Haiti, largely working with the embassy there.


    Officials also said Mr Obama told them to start preparing in case humanitarian assistance was needed.


    The US State Department, the US Agency for International Development and US Southern Command started coordination.


    "The US Embassy in Port-au-Prince is currently accounting for staff and attempting to activate the US citizen warden network but reports land lines and cell phone communication are down in the capital," said US State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid.


    "Our embassy is also trying to make contact with the Haitian government. There are emergency meetings going on right now in Washington to identify assets that can be moved quickly into the area. US search and rescue teams have been put on alert, and we are trying to assess the status of the airport. As President Obama has said, we will assist in any way we can."


    "There are emergency meetings going on right now," said Mr Duguid. "We need to gather what information we can quickly. We will of course assist in any way we can."

  2. #2
    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    This sounds like it's going to be bad. There were also tsunami warnings earlier, but I don't know how long those last.

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    Elite Member angelais's Avatar
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    I can only imagine how many casualties there are or will be. Scary.
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    Elite Member MsDark's Avatar
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    Many of my patients have family in Haiti. I expect to hear a lot about this tomorrow. I've heard nothing else about tsunamis, thank goodness.

    Tsunami watch was cancelled.
    Last edited by MsDark; January 12th, 2010 at 08:30 PM.
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    Elite Member Kathie_Moffett's Avatar
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    What the hell?! I didn't even know that was an earthquake-prone area! Haiti seems almost cursed to me. Everything bad that CAN happen to those poor people, DOES. Or so it certainly seems.
    Did you know that every time a parent gives in to their kid's whines and buys them candy at the checkout lane, a kitten gets diabetes?-Dlisted
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    Elite Member Quazar's Avatar
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    I had no idea they had earthquakes like this in that part of the world. Sounds like they also never expected this to happen - they were totally blindsided.

    These poor souls have been through so much and now this. My thoughts are with them.

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Yeah, someone on NBC News tonight said that Haiti is totally unprepared for this kind of disaster. None of their buildings are earthquake-proof, they have no emergency preparedness whatsoever.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    As if Haiti doesn't have enough problems, the last thing it needed was an earthquake. And considering that Port-au-Prince is densely populated the casualties are expected to be high. And on the news they said that one of the aftershocks registered at 5.0

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    just breaks my heart they aren't prepared at all.

    I'm glad we've prepared aid to be sent.

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    Elite Member MsDark's Avatar
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    They're actually in a pretty major seismic area. But this level/intensity is not usual from everything I've been looking at.

    Found some pics:

    Major earthquake hits Haiti | Breaking news | Palm Beach Post

    It's a minor celebration every year making it through hurricane season unscathed, and now this...
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    Elite Member Kathie_Moffett's Avatar
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    Those pictures are fucking terrifying. And no doubt they weren't prepared--isn't Haiti so poor that it'd be a miracle if they were prepared for anything?

    The Twitter picture of the collapsed National Palace...jeezus. That's some symbolism, huh.

    A couple of friends of mine just had a pretty rough time in the Eureka quake. This is all hitting home hard.
    Did you know that every time a parent gives in to their kid's whines and buys them candy at the checkout lane, a kitten gets diabetes?-Dlisted
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    Elite Member Wiseguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kathie_Moffett View Post
    What the hell?! I didn't even know that was an earthquake-prone area! Haiti seems almost cursed to me. Everything bad that CAN happen to those poor people, DOES. Or so it certainly seems.
    Just awful - they are already in such desperate need.


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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    I think I heard they haven't have a strong earthquake in over 200 years. So I guess they were quite unprepared.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    those poor people


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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    This is such a stark tragedy. Poor people.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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