The end of the world appeared to have been crumbling down on the people of this sprawling city when the 7.0 monster quake ushered its fury on Port-au-Prince yesterday afternoon. As we’re writing this flash, no one knows for sure how many dead or wounded that still remain buried under the rubble. As we reported last night,Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed. Even the main prison in the capital fell, “and there are reports of escaped inmates,” U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said in Geneva.
Archbishop of Port-au-Prince Joseph Serge Miot, 63, was found dead in the ruins of his office, according to The Associated Press. Haitian president Rene Preval told the Miami Herald that Haiti’s Senate president was among those trapped alive inside the Parliament building. The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission was missing. The international Red Cross confirmed that a third of Haiti’s 9 million people may be affected and may need emergency aid and that it would take a day or two to get a clear picture of the damage. As we speak, damage assessment is being done. We can only hope for the best while bracing for the worst.
Countries around the world are lining up to lend their support to Haiti: From Iceland to Venezuela. Many of them said they would start sending in aid workers and rescue teams. Cuba said its existing field hospitals in Haiti had already treated hundreds of victims. The United Nations said Port-au-Prince’s main airport was “fully operational” and open to relief flights. That’s a good relief. Reports said that aftershocks continued well into the night and this morning. Port-au-Prince is being rattled. Eyewitnesses said women covered in dust clawed out of debris, wailing. Stunned people wandered the streets holding hands. Thousands gathered in public squares to sing hymns.
Taiwan said its embassy was destroyed and the ambassador hospitalized. Spain said its embassy was badly damaged. 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.
But U.N. peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy would not confirm if Hedi Annabi, the chief of the UN mission in Haiti was among the dead, but they said he was among more than 100 people missing in the wrecked of the UN headquarters. He said only about 10 people had been pulled out, many of them badly injured. Fewer than five bodies had been removed, he said. Rumors continue to spread about his death.
Brazil’s army said at least 11 of its peacekeepers were killed, while Jordan’s official news agency said three of its peacekeepers were killed. A state newspaper in China said eight Chinese peacekeepers were known dead and 10 were missing — though officials later said the information was not confirmed.
This is going to be a tough day for us in CSMS Magazine. And this is just the beginning. Oh God! What has Haiti done to deserve such harsh treatment?
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