100,000 feared dead in Haiti quake (4)

09:16, January 14, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The UN's 9,000 peacekeepers in Haiti, many of whom are from Brazil, were distracted from aid efforts by their own tragedy: Many spent the night hunting for survivors in the ruins of their headquarters.

"It would appear that everyone who was in the building, including my friend Hedi Annabi, the United Nations' secretary-general's special envoy, and everyone with him and around him, are dead," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on RTL radio.

But UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy would not confirm that Annabi was dead, saying he was among more than 100 people missing in its wrecked 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.

UN peacekeeping forces in Port-au-Prince are securing the airport, the port, main buildings and patrolling the streets, Le Roy said.

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 Chinese newspaper said eight Chinese peacekeepers were known dead and 10 were missing -- though officials later said the information was not confirmed.

The quake struck at 4:53 pm, and was centered 10 miles (15 km) west of Port-au-Prince at a depth of only 5 miles (8 kilometers), the US Geological Survey said. USGS geophysicist Kristin Marano called it the strongest earthquake since 1770 in what is now Haiti.

Video obtained by the AP showed a huge dust cloud rising over Port-au-Prince shortly after the quake as buildings collapsed.

Most Haitians are desperately poor, and after years of political instability the country has no real construction standards. In November 2008, following the collapse of a school in Petionville, the mayor of Port-au-Prince estimated about 60 percent of buildings were shoddily built and unsafe normally.

The quake was felt in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, and in eastern Cuba, but no major damage was reported in either place.

With electricity out in many places and phone service erratic, it was nearly impossible for Haitian or foreign officials to get full details of the devastation.

"Everybody is just totally, totally freaked out and shaken," said Henry Bahn, a US Department of Agriculture official in Port-au-Prince. "The sky is just gray with dust."

Edwidge Danticat, an award-winning Haitian-American author was unable to contact relatives in Haiti. She sat with family and friends at her home in Miami, looking for news on the Internet and watching TV news reports.

"You want to go there, but you just have to wait," she said. "Life is already so fragile in Haiti, and to have this on such a massive scale, it's unimaginable how the country will be able to recover from this."

Source: China Daily/Agencies
【1】 【2】 【3】 【4】

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Micro-Chihuahua as tall as a dog-food-can
  • Man chops off finger to protest theft accusation
  • Top 5 Hot Destinations in China for 2010
  • Quake-hit Haiti appealing for international help
  • Int'l Snow Sculpture Contest held in Harbin
  • Poor harbor seals trapped by ice
Most Popular
Hot Forum Dicussion