Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Despairs as Quake Deaths Mount

From the Wallstreet Journal

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—Cries from victims entombed beneath concrete debris pierced the air of seemingly every street in this crowded capital Wednesday, where shocked residents carried the injured and the dead a day after the nation was hit by a quake that some estimate has killed more than 100,000 people.

Haitians tried digging through rubble with their bare hands to rescue people trapped after the biggest earthquake to hit the impoverished Caribbean nation in two centuries. Thousands of buildings from shanties to the presidential palace were destroyed, streets were blocked by debris and telephone service was knocked out. Countries around the world, meanwhile, scrambled to send in help.

"Amwe! Amwe!"—"Help me!" in Creole—one woman called out amid the rubble of a primary school that collapsed in the Turgeau neighborhood.

Florence Devereaux, a paraplegic often found sitting outside her house in the Bois Verna neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, pointed to a house next door that had collapsed, burying at least four children under rubble. "We heard them asking for water, asking to get them out. But we can't. We have no tools. Where are the rescue teams?"

Many Haitians complained about the nonexistent rescue efforts from their own government and the apparently slow arrival of help from abroad, in particular the nearby U.S. "Who is in charge?"—Ki e ski responsab?—was a common question on the streets.


Continued