Hundreds of Thousand Dead in Haiti Earthquake

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, AP – “Port-au-Prince is flattened” after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Haitian capital, Haiti’s consul general to the United Nations said Wednesday.

 More than 100,000 are dead,” Felix Augustin told reporters.  The hospitals are gone, he added, and medical supplies and heavy equipment are desperately needed.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, AP – “Port-au-Prince is flattened” after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Haitian capital, Haiti’s consul general to the United Nations said Wednesday.

 

More than 100,000 are dead,” Felix Augustin told reporters.

The hospitals are gone, he added, and medical supplies and heavy equipment are desperately needed.

 

The Haitian prime minister said Wednesday several hundred thousand people may have died in the powerful earthquake.

 

U.S. Gen. Douglas Fraser said he expects “there will be a significant loss of life.” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said “there’s every reason to fear that this earthquake has caused a large number of casualties.”

 

Earlier, Haiti’s first lady, Elisabeth Debrosse Delatour, reported that “most of Port-au-Prince is destroyed,” the Haitian ambassador to the United States, Raymond Joseph, said. He called the quake a “major catastrophe.”

 

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke of the collapse of “basic services such as water and electricity.”

 

About 3 million people — one-third of Haiti’s population — were affected by the quake, the Red Cross estimated. About 10 million people felt shaking from the earthquake, including 2 million who felt severe trembling, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated.

President Obama announced a “swift, coordinated and aggressive” U.S. response.

 

The reports and images that we’ve seen of collapsed hospitals, crumbled homes and men and women carrying their injured neighbors through the streets are truly heart-wrenching,” Obama said.

 

Aid groups scrambled to help.  Edmond Mulet, the U.N. assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, said that the National Penitentiary collapsed and the inmates escaped, prompting worries about looting by escapees.

 

The powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday, centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) southwest of Port-au-Prince, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

 

The earthquake’s power matched that of several nuclear bombs, said Roger Searle, a professor of geophysics in the Earth Sciences Department at Durham University in England.

 

The earthquake sheared huge slabs of concrete off structures and pancaked scores of them, trapping people inside those buildings, and knocking down phone and power lines.

 

Ban said the U.N. headquarters at the Christopher Hotel collapsed in the quake, and that people were still trapped inside. He said possibly 100 or 150 people were in the building around the time the quake struck. He said the chief of the U.N. mission in Haiti and a deputy special representative had not been accounted for.

 

At least 15 peacekeepers were reported to have died. The Brazilian Army said 11 of its soldiers were killed, while state-run media in Jordan reported the deaths of three Jordanian peacekeepers. The Argentine military confirmed the death of one peacekeeper from Argentina.

 

Joseph Serge Miot, the archbishop of Port-au-Prince, died in the quake, according to the official Vatican newspaper.

 

Haiti’s main airport appeared to be operable, which should enable foreign aid to start flowing into the country, and U.S. Embassy staff at the airport said the tower and the lights were working, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday.

 

Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, will be the U.S. government’s unified disaster coordinator, Obama said. Shah said that teams have been working around the clock “to make sure the U.S. mounts an effective response in supporting saving lives, which is the president’s absolute top priority for this first period of 72 hours when we search and save as many lives as we can.”

 

Many countries and agencies across the globe geared up to help Haiti. A 50-member Chinese rescue team planned to deploy, Xinhua news agency said, and Ban said the U.N. plans to release $10 million in aid immediately.

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