BBC: Thousands feared killed by earthquake in Haiti

A damaging earthquake struck Haiti and has led to wide-spread devastation, amidst fears that thousands have been killed or injured. The news released so far from Haiti indicates that the center of the capital, Port au Prince, was heavily damaged, whereupon buildings have completely collapsed or been extremely damaged. Amongst them are the Presidential palace, the Headquarters of the United Nations’ peacekeeping delegation, as well as hotels and government buildings.

Eyewitnesses reported that there was chaos in the aftermath of the earthquake, which registered a strength of 7.3 on the Richter scale. The ground and wireless telephone communication lines were cut off which has hindered the rescue operations, and scientists have said that the massive damage from the earthquake will the worst near it’s epicenter.

The Haitian Ambassador to Mexico announced that the Haitian president, Rene Preval, “Is alive,” immediately after the big earthquake which damaged the presidential palace.

A spokesperson for the American State Department, Philip Crowley the the American diplomats in Port Au Prince, “Saw a lot of bodies in the streets and on sidewalks,” adding that there were many dead under the rubble (as well). Crowley indicated that the United States has begun organizing it’s airborne aid to send to Haiti.

One of the residents who who witnessed the terror while forced to walk a number of kilometers back to his home said that, “The center of Port Au Prince is already destroyed, it is a true disaster.” A humanitarian aid worker described the situation in Port Au Prince as, “Utter chaos,” and expressed his fears that, “Thousands were killed,” according to what an official said in the American Non-Governmental Organization, “Catholic Relief Services.”

From it’s side, an official from the United Nations announced that a large number of the international organization’s workers were missing as a result of the large damage to the (United Nation)’s Headquarters.

The American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, announced her country’s readiness to provide aid to the Haitian people in the face of this human catastrophe.

As such, The American administration will send a team to deal with the disaster, including search dogs and tons of rescue supplies, whereas France said that two of it’s planes will be on route to Haiti today with rescue workers and humanitarian relief supplies. Venezuela has already said that is preparing to send military cargo helicopters with food supplies, medicine, and quantities of drinking water.

From it’s side, the Inter-American Development Bank announced that it was going to deliver emergency supplies to Haiti worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Capital

News reports say that thousands of victim’s corpses are buried under piles of debris, and panic prevails amongst the residents that have taken to the streets as thousands have gathered there. There is darkness in the Haitian capital in which around two million people reside.

Journalists from the France Press news agency indicated that shaking lasted for more than a minute and was so strong you could feel it while riding in a car, while residents vacated their homes for fear of more quakes.

In Washington, the Haitian Ambassador to the United States, Ramon Joseph, announced the earth quake that struck Haiti Tuesday has caused “great destruction.” After talking to the Haitian Foreign Ministry he told the American television station, CNN, “I believe that it is truly a huge catastrophe.”

Threat of Tsunami

The American President, Barack Obama, already announced that he is following the situation in Haiti and assured that his country is ready to provide aid supplies immediately. Obama said in a press release, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those struck by this earthquake,” adding, “We are following the situation from nearby and are ready to provide aid to the Haitian populace.”

Efforts have already begun to coordinate aid to Haiti by the American State Department, USAID, and SOUTHCOM.

Residents of the capital of Haiti rush to save a victim.

The former American President Bill Clinton issued a press release expressing his worry for, and solidarity with the Haitian people, and emphasized the obligation of the United States to aid Haiti in rescue and rebuilding operations.

The American administration announced the dispatch of the first team of rescuers to Haiti who will work to search the rubble for signs of life.

The team consists of 72 people, six search dogs, and they are transporting with them around 48 tons of rescue equipment according to what was released in a report from the American Agency for Aid and Development aka “USAID.”

The report clarified that experts in natural disasters are going to monitor the rescuers to help them evaluate the situation in the Haitian capital that has around two million inhabitants.

The Tsunami center for the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday that the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and the Bahamas were amongst the countries included in the warning (of a Tsunami).

The center added that,”The threat of a wide-spread damaging tsunami is non-existent based off historical records dealing with earthquakes and tsunami waves.”

The earthquake resulted in a state of panic and chaos.

Despite that it added, “However, there is still the possiblity of a local tsunami incidents that could affect no more than around 100 kilometers of coastline near the epicenter of the earthquake.”

Two aftershocks occurred that registered 5.9 and 5.5 on the Richter scale minutes after the (original) earthquake.

Reports indicate that the epicenter of the earthquake was at a distance of around 22 kilometers west of Port Au Prince, according to the American Geological Survey.

It’s been noted that Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere.