Devastating Earthquake Strikes Haiti

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Pintu, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. Pintu

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    'Tens of thousands' killed in Haiti quake

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    Washington, Jan 14 (DPA) Haitian President Rene Preval said estimates of the death toll in the devastating earthquake in capital Port-au- Prince could easily be in the tens of thousands, while other officials said more than 100,000 may have perished.

    "Up to now I've heard 50,000, I've heard 30,000. Let's say, it's too early to give a number," Preval told broadcaster CNN, conceding

    that any sort of official estimate was extremely difficult. "I am still trying to understand myself the magnitude of the event."

    Earlier, he had told The Miami Herald that thousands may have been killed in the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rocked the country

    Tuesday afternoon, and issued an appeal for world assistance. The damage was centred in and around the capital Port-au-Prince, home to about 1.9 million people.

    Figures for the number of dead remain murky as the government tries to assess the damage.

    Speaking on CNN, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said: "I believe that we are well over 100,000" dead, based on the number of buildings that have collapsed.

    The UN mission in Haiti said Wednesday that the country suffered "massive and broad" destruction from the devastating earthquakes which may result in large number of casualties.

    Fifty to 100 UN staff remained unaccounted for a day after the earthquake, said Vicznezo Pugliese, spokesman for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Separate reports say the dead included soldiers from Brazil, China and Jordan.

    The end death toll could amount to the largest number of deaths ever for any UN single mission. UN officials warned that the situation remained fluid because the quake and its aftershocks had cut off communication lines between UN headquarters in New York and the mission in Haiti.

    Pugliese said hotels, hospitals, schools and the national prison in Port-au-Prince all suffered extensive damage. Electricity was interrupted and water was in short supply.

    "Casualties, which are vast, can only be estimated," Pugliese said in a statement made available at UN headquarters in New York.

    The missing staff had worked in the main MINUSTAH office, a six-storey concrete building which collapsed. Normally, between 200 and 250 UN staff worked in the main office building but many may have left before the quakes struck.

    Ten other staff were still unaccounted for who worked for UN agencies like the UN Development Programme, some of whom were in hotels.

    Hundreds of thousands of Haitians slept in the streets Tuesday night after the earthquake struck, fearful that their houses would collapse. UN soldiers and police patrolled Port-au-Prince since the earthquake to maintain order and security.

    The UN Security Council held a minute of silence before it met Wednesday and issued a statement expressing "deepest sympathy and solidarity" to Haitians killed or affected by the catastrophe.

    The 15-nation council also voiced support for the government of Haiti and called on UN members to assist the country in rescuing the survivors.

    John Holmes, the top UN coordinator for humanitarian emergency, said there was no "reliable information at the moment".

    The earthquake with magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale struck the impoverished Caribbean nation Tuesday right before 5 p.m. local time.

    Holmes said a Chinese search and rescue team had arrived in Port-au-Prince. There are 119 Chinese police in the UN mission in Haiti. Taiwan was sending 55 rescue workers and two search-and-rescue dogs, Taiwan officials said earlier Wednesday.

    US and other country rescue teams were scheduled to reach Haiti in coming days.

    UN peacekeepers' death toll in Haiti could be highest ever

    New York, Jan 13 (DPA) The death toll among United Nations peacekeepers in Haiti in a massive earthquake could be the largest number ever killed during a mission once formal casualty figures are established.

    The mission chief, Hedi Annabi, his deputy Luiz Carlos da Costa, and at least another 100 UN personnel were unaccounted for Wednesday, a day after an earthquake with magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale struck the impoverished Caribbean nation.

    UN Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Alain LeRoy said in New York that the UN still had no information about the fate of those unaccounted for.

    "It's a profound concern for us," LeRoy said.

    The UN stabilization mission in Haiti, known by its French acronym MINUSTAH, is housed in a five-storey concrete building in the Haiti capital Port-au-Prince. The building is across the street from the Christopher Hotel, a major residence for UN staff, which sits atop a fault line.

    Both of the buildings, which are among the strongest and most important structures in the capital, were destroyed.

    Some 3,000 UN peacekeepers have been assisting in rescue efforts in and around Port-au-Prince since the earthquake and some 25 aftershocks struck.

    UN peacekeepers die in missions around the world each year, but the death toll in Haiti could easily top all those killed in the past.

    MINUSTAH has slightly over 7,000 military troops, most of them from Brazil, and 2,000 police sent by scores of countries to Haiti to train the country's police force.

    At least four Brazilian soldiers were killed in the tremblor and the death toll could climb, the military said in Brasilia.

    MINUSTAH was involved in building democratic institutions in Haiti, and repairing Haiti's infrastructure after the country was hit by four consecutive hurricane and tropical storms in 2008. The natural disasters destroyed most of Haiti's agricultural lands and many properties.

    The mission's stabilization mandate has been to assist the government of President Rene Preval build a police force to meet security challenges.

    In a progress report issued late last year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Haiti, after five years of the stabilization process, has moved "away from a past of conflict towards a brighter future of peaceful development".

    A majority of Haiti's nine million people still live in poverty and the country depends heavily on international humanitarian and development assistance.

    Thousands feared killed as massive quake hits Haiti

    Port-au-Prince/Washington, Jan 13 (DPA) Haitian President Rene Preval said Wednesday that thousands may have been killed in the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rattled his country and issued an appeal for aid to his impoverished nation.

    The deaths and extent of damage in Port-au-Prince, the city of 1.9 million, were difficult to determine after Tuesday's violent quake, but the United Nations and aid agencies have said hundreds were likely killed. Many survivors were believed to still be stuck in rubble, and the Red Cross said up to three million people might require humanitarian assistance across Haiti.

    The 7.0 magnitude quake is the region's worst in a century, the US Geological Survey said.

    In an interview with the Miami Herald, his first since the quake, Preval did not provide an official casualty toll. "We have to do an evaluation," Preval told the paper.

    He said he had had to step over dead bodies and could hear the cries of trapped citizens, including under the national parliament building.

    "Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed," he said. "There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them."

    "All of the hospitals are packed with people. It is a catastrophe," he said.

    Among the buildings destroyed were the UN headquarters on the island, the presidential palace and numerous government buildings and hotels housing western tourists.

    Offers of aid had poured in from around the world.

    US President Barack Obama said in Washington Wednesday the US will respond swiftly to assist the people of Haiti, calling the devastation that struck the Caribbean nation "truly heart wrenching".

    The US military has already conducted overflights to determine the extent of the damage and assistance and rescue team were preparing to deploy to Haiti, Obama said.

    The US government was also trying to account for US personnel at the embassy in Port-au-Prince and other American citizens in the country, Obama said.

    Raymond Alcide Joseph, Haitian ambassador to the US, said at a press conference in Washington that First Lady Elisabeth Debrosse Delatour had requested the global community to send hospital ships - given the precarious health infrastructure - and well-equipped first responders to come in with dogs to search for the living and the dead under the debris.

    The US Agency for International Development said up to 72 people, six search and rescue dogs and 42 tonnes of equipment were on the way.

    The country is home to the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) of 7,000 troops and 2,000 police along with 500 foreign civilians and 1,200 local employees. More than 100 UN staff in the poor Caribbean nation remained unaccounted for.

    Several hospitals were reportedly "taken completely out of commission," Paul Conneally with the International Federation of Red Cross Societies in Geneva, said, while "others are overwhelmed and turning people away".

    Hospitals in the neighbouring Dominican Republic were bracing Wednesday to receive hundreds of injured Haitians.

    "The immediate need is to rescue people trapped in the rubble, then to get people food and water. We're particularly worried about the children, because so many schools seem to have collapsed," said Sophie Perez with the humanitarian aid group CARE.

    "Children were still in school in the afternoon when the earthquake hit, so there are many children trapped. It's horrifying," the aid worker said.

    Perez was in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince when the earthquake hit, working on aid projects for the poor and underdeveloped island nation that has seen both conflicts and extreme natural disasters in recent years.

    "It was terrifying. It lasted for more than a minute. The whole building was shaking. People were screaming, crying," she said.

    Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, making rescue efforts even more difficult due to the poor existing infrastructure. Telephone networks had reportedly collapsed, with fires in the capital Port-au-Prince witnessed, probably from collapsed gas pipes.

    The quake struck at 4.53 p.m. (2153 GMT) Tuesday, some 15 km southwest of the city at a depth of 10 kilometres. More 25 aftershocks have been recorded since the initial tremblor.

    France, the former colonial power, announced Wednesday it was immediately sending two planes, humanitarian aid and around 60 rescue workers.

    Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva ordered $10 million in aid and food be sent and spoke of fears over the situation of both the Haitian people and the over 1,000 Brazilians who are active in the troubled nation as part of a UN mission.

    At least four members of the Brazilian military were killed and five others were injured, the army said in Brasilia.

    Pitt, Jolie reach out to Haiti quake victims

    London, Jan 13 (IANS) Hollywood star couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have stepped in to help victims of the Haiti earthquake, which has left thousands of people dead and many homeless.

    The poverty-stricken Caribbean island was hit hard by a massive tremor measuring 7 on the Richter Scale Tuesday that struck just south of capital city Port-au-Prince.

    Rapper Wyclef Jean has also urged the public to donate money to help the rescue efforts in the country and the Hollywood supercouple has come forward to aid the campaign, contactmusic.com reports.

    "We are devastated by the news from Haiti. We will work closely with our good friend Wyclef Jean to support the humanitarian efforts on the island and help those who have been injured and left without homes and shelter," read a statement from Pitt-Jolie.

    Added Jean: "I cannot stress enough what a human disaster this is, and idle hands will only make this tragedy worse. The over 2 million people in Port-au-Prince face catastrophe alone. We must act now."

    Meanwhile, hip-hop star Sean 'Diddy' Combs is also pleading for help to raise funds for those affected. Taking to his Twitter.com page, he wrote: "God Bless Haiti! God please! State of Emergency!"

    He then requested fans donate cash to Jean's Yele Haiti charity organisation.
     
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  3. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    I pray to almighty give peace to the soul who have become victims of nature's fury , Rest In Peace.
     
  4. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    U.N. mission chief in Haiti killed in quake | Reuters

    U.N. mission chief in Haiti killed in quake

    PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - The chief of the U.N. mission in Haiti, Hedi Annabi, was killed in Tuesday's earthquake, Haitian President Rene Preval said on Wednesday.

    "Ambassador Annabi died. We send our sympathy and condolences to all the international community," Preval told journalists in Port-au-Prince.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had said earlier he could not confirm reports Annabi had died.

    (Reporting by Joseph Guyler Delva, Editing by Sandra Maler)
     
  5. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Haiti quake is devastating blow to UN

    Haiti quake is devastating blow to UN

    (AFP)

    13 January 2010, 10:27 PM
    UNITED NATIONS - The powerful earthquake that hit Haiti dealt a devastating blow to the United Nations, which may have lost dozens of staff in a impoverished country it was trying to stabilize, UN officials said Wednesday.

    UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday’s 7.0 magnitude quake, which raised fears that as many as 100,000 people may have been killed, was “a tragedy for Haiti and ...for the United Nations.”

    Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN that the death toll could be “well over 100,000,” although he added: “I hope that is not true.”

    The UN mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was hit particularly hard, with its main headquarters building in Port-au-Prince flattened and dozens of staff missing, including the civilian head of the mission, Hedi Annabi of Tunisia, and his deputy.

    Ban said Annabi was in the building along with 100 to 150 members of his staff when the quake, Haiti’s worst in more than 160 years, struck Tuesday.

    The respected Tunisian official, who served as deputy head of UN peacekeeping operations from 1997 to 2007, was having talks with a visiting Chinese delegation, he added.

    In Paris, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Annabi, a personal friend, and “all those around him” were believed dead.

    John Holmes, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), later told a press briefing that there was no reliable figures on the death toll.

    “We are extremely concerned about the humanitarian impact” in the city of 2.8 million people, where the national palace, the main prison, hotels, hospitals, and schools sustained extensive damage.

    He said “50 to 100” people were believed to be under the rubble of MINUSTAH’s main building, a five-story concrete building known as the Christopher Hotel and located on the road to Petionville.

    “Basic services such as water, electricity, have collapsed almost entirely,” Ban said.

    Holmes added that a total of 38 other UN staffers were thought to be buried under the debris of two offices of the UN Development Program (UNDP) in the Haitian capital.

    The tragedy is the worst disaster to hit the world body since the August 19, 2003 suicide attack on UN offices in Baghdad, in which 22 people, including UN special envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, were killed.

    In December 2007, two suicide blasts targeting UN offices in Algiers killed at least 41 people, including 18 UN staffers, three of them foreign nationals.

    Ban said he was sending Edmond Mulet, the deputy head of the UN department of peacekeeping operations (DPKO) and Annabi’s predecessor, to Haiti to run the UN mission.

    And the UN boss added that he was committed to visiting the impoverished Caribbean island himself “as soon as practically possible.”

    Ban said the UN system was mobilizing an emergency response team to coordinate relief aid which was expected to arrive in Port-au-Prince soon.

    Holmes said a Chinese search and rescue team arrived in Port-au-Prince where the airport was operating despite damage sustained by the control tower.

    Two US teams were due to arrive later in the day, followed by others, he added .

    DPKO head Alain Leroy earlier said at least five people were confirmed dead in the collapsed MINUSTAH headquarters.

    At least 15 Brazilian soldiers, three Jordanian soldiers and one Argentine gendarme serving with MINUSTAH were killed, military officials from the three countries said.

    Seven Brazilian soldiers and another Argentine gendarme were missing.

    Eight Chinese members of the peacekeeping mission were also buried in building collapses, according to China’s State Council. It did not say whether they were believed to be alive or dead.

    Brazil, which is in charge of MINUSTAH’s military component and the biggest contributor with 1,266 soldiers, sent its defense minister Nelson Jobim and army chief General Enzo Martins Peri to Haiti to get first-hand information.

    UN troops and police were helping maintain order and assisting with rescue operations, according to UN officials.

    And Holmes said his office would launch a major flash appeal for funds in the next two to three days and had already released ten million dollars in emergency aid.

    Ban was due to meet with former US president Bill Clinton, now a UN special envoy for Haiti here later Wednesday.

    UN officials meanwhile said other UN facilities across Port-au-Prince had also suffered damage.

    MINUSTAH, which comprises 7,060 troops and 2,091 police, has been deployed since mid-2004 to help stabilize the impoverished Caribbean island-nation of eight million people.
     
  6. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Ban calls for international support in wake of devastating Haiti quake

    Ban calls for international support in wake of devastating Haiti quake

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    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
    addresses reporters following
    deadly Haiti earthquake


    13 January 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today issued an urgent call to the international community to assist Haiti following yesterday’s catastrophic earthquake that has devastated the impoverished Caribbean nation’s capital.

    Buildings and infrastructure in Port-au-Prince suffered extensive damage, while basic services, including water and electricity are near the brink of collapse. The full extent of casualties, which could number in the hundreds, is still unknown, Mr. Ban told reporters in New York.

    “There is no doubt that we are facing a major humanitarian emergency and that a major relief effort will be required,” he said.

    Expressing gratitude to nations rushing aid to the earthquake’s victims, he called for the world to “come to Haiti’s aid in this hour of need.”

    The UN, he said, is also mobilizing an emergency response team to help coordinate humanitarian relief efforts and is expected to be on the ground shortly.

    Many of UN personnel serving in the country – including Hédi Annabi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative – are still unaccounted for, Mr. Ban said, with the UN Headquarters in the Christopher Hotel having collapsed in the tremors.

    “Many people are still trapped inside,” the Secretary-General – who has been in close consultation with the Governments of Haiti, the United States and others – noted.

    He is scheduled to brief the General Assembly on the situation on the ground in Haiti this afternoon, following a meeting with former United States president Bill Clinton, who serves as the UN Special Envoy for Haiti..

    Troops, mostly from Brazil, serving with the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) have been working through the night to reach those trapped under the rubble, and several badly injured people have been rescued and transported to the mission’s logistics base which remains intact.

    Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, told journalists today that fewer than 10 UN staff were pulled out of the collapsed Christopher Hotel, with some of them confirmed to have died.

    Other UN offices have been damaged, and 10 people are missing from a compound housing people working for the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and others.

    The Secretary-General announced today that he will dispatch Edmond Mulet, his former Special Representative to Haiti and current Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, to the country, and that the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) is releasing $10 million immediately.

    “The first priority is search and rescue,” with teams from the US, China, France, the Dominican Republic and other nations on their way to Haiti, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes told reporters today.

    The UN, he said, will launch a flash appeal to kickstart what “will certainly be a major operation and a major relief effort.”

    MINUSTAH was set up in 2004 and currently has more than 9,000 military and police personnel and nearly 2,000 civilian staff. Some 3,000 of the mission’s troops and police are in and around Port-au-Prince, and will help to maintain order and assist in relief efforts. They have also started to clear some of the capital’s main roads to allow aid and rescuers to reach those in need.

    The Security Council observed a moment of silence this morning, and the Secretary-General is slated to brief the General Assembly later this afternoon on the situation on the ground in Haiti.

    The Security Council, which observed a moment of silence this morning, expressed its sympathy and solidarity with those affected by yesterday’s tremors in a press statement.

    Council members “highly commend Member States’ efforts to assist in search and rescue efforts and urge the international community to continue such assistance as the Haitian people face the challenges of rescue, recovery, and reconstruction in the months ahead.” They also paid tribute to MINUSTAH’s staff and troops “who have dedicated themselves to helping rebuild Haiti after years of strife; and express their concern for their current situation, as well as for that of the staff of other UN and international organizations in Haiti.”
     
  7. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    AFP: Canada's Haitian diaspora tunes in for quake news

    Canada's Haitian diaspora tunes in for quake news

    AFP) – 2 hours ago

    MONTREAL — The phone lines lit up on Wednesday at Montreal's CPAM Creole radio station, as Canada's Haitian diaspora clamored for any information about the fate of loved ones in quake-stricken Haiti.

    Canada's second-largest city is home to more than 100,000 people of Haitian origin.

    And with communication lines back home mostly down after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday devastated the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, local radio here has become a transfer hub for a lot of quake information.

    "We've become a relay station," explained radio host Jean-Robert Boulin, whose usual French music slot was temporarily replaced by a call-in segment for worried Haitian expatriates.

    The AM radio's audience was invited to share any information they managed to glean from family and friends in Haiti.

    "Despite everything, some managed to reach their parents by text message or other means. They tell us, 'in such and such a region, there has been devastation,' and that's how our listeners get the information," said Boulin.

    "In these circumstances, there is a spirit of solidarity that automatically develops," he said, raising his voice to be heard above a CNN broadcast, ringing telephones and a computer tuned to a Haitian Internet radio station.

    "Some people call to ask if there is anything they can bring us" to help the survivors, said journalist Yvon Chery, clinging to his BlackBerry for email updates from his parents.

    But some coordination is still required to accept, store, transport and distribute donations of food and medicine.

    Earlier, the station urged listeners to save their energies and plan to go to Haiti later to help in the reconstruction.

    "Our efforts to help Haiti are needed in the reconstruction of what was lost," said radio host Asma Heurtelou, urging listeners to set aside their vacations to travel to Haiti to help out.

    Haitian community organizers, meanwhile, suggested that cash donations would best serve the needs of those affected by the quake, as those needs are not yet defined.

    "For now, we're waiting. We're mobilizing and then we wait," said Chery.
     
  9. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Archbishop of Port-au-Prince dies in Haiti earthquake - Europe - World - The Times of India

    Archbishop of Port-au-Prince dies in Haiti earthquake
    AP, 14 January 2010, 03:06am IST

    PARIS: Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, the archbishop of Port-au-Prince, has been killed in the Haiti earthquake. He was 63.

    Missionaries at the archdiocese found his body crushed by rubble in the ruins of his office, said the Rev Pierre Le Beller of the Saint Jacques Missionary Centre in western France.

    A seminary student was killed and two others were injured in the quake, according to the mission.

    The Saint Jacques order of missionary priests was officially founded in 1951 by the bishop of Gonaives, Haiti. While headquartered in France, it retains a strong presence in Haiti and traces its unofficial missionary activity to 1860.

    Born in Jeremie, Haiti, on November 23, 1946, Miot was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1975.

    He was consecrated a bishop in 1997, and named deputy to the archbishop of Port-au-Prince, a title he held until being named archbishop himself in 2008.

    "He was a demanding, and understanding, priest," said the Rev Michel Menard, also of the Saint Jacques mission, who met regularly with Miot in Haiti. "He was man of great discretion and humility."

    "He was very close to his priests, very welcoming," and his door was always open to visitors, Menard said.

    Miot, a philosophy professor at the Port-au-Prince seminary, "would tell students that being a priest is not a profession, it is a mission," Menard told AP by phone from the Brittany town of Landivisiau.
     
  10. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    AFP: US launches major operation to aid Haiti

    US launches major operation to aid Haiti

    By Dan De Luce (AFP) – 3 hours ago

    WASHINGTON — The United States launched a sweeping military and civilian operation on Wednesday to aid Haiti, as President Barack Obama vowed a swift and aggressive effort to save lives in the devastated capital, Port-au-Prince.

    Teams of civilian and military experts began landing in Haiti as US aircraft searched for survivors and tried to assess the damage from the massive 7.0 magnitude quake.

    As a wealthy neighbor with the world's most powerful military, the United States appeared well-placed to lead relief efforts for the impoverished Caribbean nation, mobilizing an array of specialists, ships, planes and helicopters.

    "I have directed my administration to respond with a swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives," Obama said at the White House.

    "Search and rescue teams from Florida, Virginia and California will arrive throughout today and tomorrow."

    At daylight, a US Navy P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, usually used to track drug trafficking in the region, flew over the site of the earthquake in Port-au-Prince while a Coast Guard cutter with a helicopter flight deck arrived off the coast.

    The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier was en route and set to arrive Thursday, while destroyers and more Coast Guard ships were on the way, General Douglas Fraser, head of the US Southern Command, told reporters.

    More than 100,000 people were feared dead after the earthquake razed homes, hotels, and hospitals, leaving the capital in ruins and bodies strewn in the streets.

    The US military said it would possibly send in a large amphibious ship with a Marine Expeditionary Unit of about 2,000 to help with medical and other aid operations. And commanders had put a US Army brigade of about 3,500 soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on alert for possible deployment.

    Planes were landing at the Port-au-Prince international airport but officials said communications had been knocked out at the airport's tower and the passenger terminal was damaged.

    A team of US Air Force experts was due to arrive on Wednesday to help restore air traffic control and communications at the airport, which was needed as a hub for relief efforts, Fraser said.

    About 60 military personnel were on the ground and some 30 military engineers, medical specialists and other experts were due to arrive on Wednesday aboard a C-130 Hercules plane to assist US and international officials organize emergency aid, Fraser said.

    A State Department spokesman said that three US relief and rescue teams would depart Wednesday for Haiti from Costa Rica, Washington and Los Angeles, arriving at intervals during the day.

    While the full extent of the devastation remained unclear, Obama said the US Defense and State Departments along with the US Agency for International Development would lead relief efforts after the "heart wrenching" tragedy.

    "The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble and to deliver the humanitarian relief, food, water and medicine that Haitians will need," he said.

    An initial survey of the earthquake's aftermath from the air indicated the damage was mainly concentrated around the capital but the number of casualties and the scale of the disaster was still unknown, the general said.

    "We don't have a clear assessment right now of what the situation on the ground is," he said.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meanwhile announced she would shorten her tour of Asia because of the quake.

    "It is biblical, the tragedy that continues to stalk Haiti and the Haitian people," a tired-looking Clinton said in Hawaii after conferring with Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, USAID director Rajiv Shah and other officials.

    A Coast Guard helicopter earlier Wednesday evacuated four critically injured members of the American embassy staff in Haiti to the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Fraser did not rule out housing refugees at the base, home to the controversial US military prison for terror suspects.
     
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    Very bad news and I hope they get the equipment and supplies needed to get through this terrible time. My heart goes out to them.
     
  12. Pintu

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    Port-au-Prince airport usable but damaged- Politics/Nation-News-The Economic Times

    Port-au-Prince airport usable but damaged
    14 Jan 2010, 0346 hrs IST, AGENCIES

    PORT-AU-PRINCE: The international airport in Haiti's earthquake-ravaged capital is damaged but usable, authorities said today as countries line up to fly in relief supplies and rescue teams.

    Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN television planes were landing at the airport but added, "I know that there is some problems."

    US Air Force General Douglas Fraser, head of US Southern Command, said in Washington that the airport runway had survived the quake but communications were knocked out and the passenger terminal sustained damage.

    Fraser's deputy commander who happened to be in Haiti when the earthquake hit had visited the airport, he said.

    "He says the runway is functional, but the tower does not have communications capability," Fraser said.

    UN peacekeeping operations head Alain Leroy earlier told reporters "the airport is operational" and that aid would start flowing soon.

    The use of the airport closest to hard-hit Port-au-Prince would be crucial for swiftly bringing in help that is desperately needed to rescue people trapped under rubble and attend to casualties of the disaster.

    Albert Ramdin, assistant secretary general of the Washington-based Organisation of American States, said problems at the airport could snarl the flow of supplies.

    "The runway seems to be functioning, but there's no electricity, that means landing in the evening or in the night is impossible," he warned.
     
  14. Pintu

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    Indian peacekeepers in Haiti safe: CISF - India - The Times of India

    Indian peacekeepers in Haiti safe: CISF
    PTI, 13 January 2010, 06:20pm IST

    UNITED NATIONS/NEW DELHI: Eleven UN peacekeepers were killed today as the strongest earthquake in more than 200 years jolted Haiti as officials said the 141-strong Indian contingent in the Caribbean nation is safe.

    Eight Chinese and three Jordanian peacekeepers have been killed and hundreds others are unaccounted for including the Tunisian force chief as a 7.3-magnitude trembler shook the country, flattening almost all buildings in the capital Port-Au-Prince.

    All the 141 Indian police peacekeepers from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), who are based in the capital which was worst hit are safe, according to the CISF spokesperson Rohit Katiyar at the force headquarters in New Delhi.

    He said a part of the outer perimeter wall of the building in which Indian contingent is housed fell down, but the main structure remain intact.

    India is still awaiting information about 50 other Consular level officers.

    "Since we got the first information, we have been trying to establish contact with our Consulate there..... There are about 50 Consular level officers. We are awaiting information about them," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said in New Delhi.
     
  15. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Main News

    Quake rocks Haiti, no news of 50 consular officers

    New Delhi, January 13
    India is awaiting information about its 50 Consular level officers in Haiti, which suffered the strongest earthquake in more than 200 years flattening almost all buildings in its capital Port-Au-Prince.

    “Since we got the first information, we have been trying to establish contact with our Consulate there..... There are about 50 Consular level officers. We are awaiting information about them,” External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said here today.

    All the 141 Indian police peacekeepers from the Central Industrial Security Force, who are based in the capital which was worst hit are safe, according to CISF spokesperson Rohit Katiyar at the force headquarters in New Delhi. He said a part of the outer perimeter wall of the building, in which Indian contingent is housed fell, but the main structure remain intact. "For the moment we have no news from the 200 to 250 people in the building.," Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman of an UN agency said in Geneva. — PTI
     
  16. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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  17. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    AFP: China says its peacekeepers missing in Haiti quake

    China says its peacekeepers missing in Haiti quake

    (AFP) – 11 hours ago

    BEIJING — Eight Chinese peacekeepers were buried in building collapses caused by the massive earthquake in Haiti, China said Wednesday as it sent emergency workers and supplies to help with the disaster.

    The State Council announced the casualties in a statement on its website after the island's strongest earthquake in more than a century rocked the Caribbean nation on Tuesday.

    The statement gave no further details on whether the peacekeepers were believed to be alive or dead.

    The quake toppled buildings including the headquarters of the UN mission, which has run peacekeeping operations in Haiti since 2004.

    An earlier report on the website of the state-run China Daily newspaper also said at least 10 peacekeepers were missing but it did not make clear whether they included the eight who were trapped in rubble.

    Chinese media reports said the country has 125 peacekeepers deployed in Haiti.

    The government said it would donate one million dollars in aid supplies and had begun sending more than 60 disaster relief personnel to help, along with three sniffer dogs.

    "The Chinese government expresses its deep concern and sympathy," said a statement on the foreign ministry's website.
     
  18. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    AFP: Obama unveils 100 million dollars of Haiti aid

    Obama unveils 100 million dollars of Haiti aid

    (AFP) – 1 hour ago

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama promised Haitians Thursday they would not be forgotten, offering 100 million dollars in immediate earthquake aid and every element of US power to help them.

    "To the people of Haiti, we say clearly and with conviction, you will not be foresaken, you will not be forgotten," Obama said.

    Obama offered "every element of our national capacity, our diplomacy, and development assistance, the power of our military and most importantly, the compassion of our country" following the disaster.
     
  19. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    22nd marine expeditionary unit to haiti

    CONFIRMED: 22nd MEU Heading To Haiti
     
  20. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    RIP to the victims. May the haitians weather through this troubled times.
     
  21. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    This bring to mind something really important.

    India being a big cuntry in the center of the Indian Ocean surrounded by many small island states and islands like Andaman and Lakshdeep that belong to India - should have a large fully equipped state of the art "HOSPITAL SHIP for use in natural disasters.

    Nothing can help small island or Coastal cities more in times of massive natural calamities than a hospital ship because of damage to local hospitals and hospitals being totally overwhelmed.

    The Ship can be docked in normal times and quickly filled with supplies and manned with Coast Guard crew and a volunteer army of doctors during massive devastation like Haiti. Heck, you could even send final year Med students in times like this.

    A big country like India should have a facility like this.

    This is what you call real Soft Power - the ability to mobilize quickly and help people in real desperate need.

    I am sure something like this Haiti Earthquake will happen somewhere in the Indian Ocean or nearby in the future.
     

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