Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Massive earthquake strikes Haiti, leveling much of Port-au-Prince and its suburbs

Tragedy strikes again, in a country that has been repeatedly battered by hurricanes, widespread poverty, violence, and deforestation:
A 7.0-magnitude quake which hit south of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince is feared to have killed hundreds of people across the Caribbean country.

In the space of a minute, Haiti's worst quake in two centuries wrecked the HQ of the UN mission, Haiti's national palace and numerous other buildings.

A "large number" of UN personnel were reported missing by the organisation.

Describing it as a "catastrophe", Haiti's envoy to the US said the cost of the damage could run into billions.
According to news reports and eyewitness accounts, many of Port-au-Prince's major buildings, including the Presidential Palace, the city's Roman Catholic cathedral, the National Assembly's meeting place, Montana Hotel, and aforementioned U.N. headquarters have collapsed. A huge cloud of dust could be reportedly seen in the aftermath of the quake and its many aftershocks, many of which registered above 5.0 in magnitude.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by this earthquake," President Barack Obama said in a statement sent to NPI and other media outlets. "We are closely monitoring the situation and we stand ready to assist the people of Haiti." The White House said the President had first been briefed on the disaster at 5:52 PM Eastern, and had immediately directed federal agencies to begin preparing humanitarian aid.

The extent of the destruction is suspected to be widespread and horrific, but no specific details are available to qualify or quantify the scope of the damage at this time. What communications infrastructure Haiti had working before the quake (which wasn't much) is now damaged or overwhelmed.

Most of the pictures the traditional media have obtained have come from wire services (The Associated Press, Reuters) or from social media. Bomgoclub has some striking pictures from Haiti on Flickr (like this one); many of these are being rotated on the cable news channels as part of their coverage.

Local charities, including Mercy Corps of Portland and Medical Teams International, are calling for donations to support disaster relief, and are scrambling to mobilize personnel to head to the scene:
"We will be sending out a team today or tomorrow, assuming we can fly into the airport," said Medical Team International President, Bas Vanderzalm. "We are in touch with a number of our partners in Haiti to see how we can help with emergency supplies."

Volunteers Dr. Joseph and wife, Linda Markee, an RN, have agreed to go to Haiti to help families in need. The Markees, from Vancouver, Wash., are veteran volunteers for Medical Teams International.
Doctors Without Borders, which maintains facilities in Haiti, confirms that serious damage has made travel and communication with the outside world all but impossible.


Blogger DrKeithCurrie said...

"Massive earthquake strikes Haiti, leveling much of Port-au-Prince and its suburbs" May Allah save them.

January 13, 2010 4:57 AM  
Blogger KERRY said...

This is a very sad time for us in the Caribbean. Our prayers goes out to all Haitians and their families/friends.

January 13, 2010 9:31 AM  
Blogger Quality Research said...

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January 13, 2010 12:52 PM  

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