Haiti earthquake death toll can climb up to hundreds and thousands
In wake of the devastation in Haiti caused by a massive 7.0 earthquake, the Prime Minister of that Nation, Felix Augustin fears “More than 100,000 are dead.” This toll remains to be confirmed, but the Prime Minster also layed concern that the death toll would continue climbing as many are still trapped in piles of concrete from collapsed buildings and homes. “The hospitals are gone, he added, “and medical supplies and heavy equipment are desperately needed. Port-au-Prince is flattened”
Many iconic and cultural buildings in the capital are completely devastated. The parliament building, presidential palace as well as schools have all been pancaked. The United Nations headquarters at the Christopher Hotel collapsed as well, as U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon said as many as 100-150 people are potentially still trapped inside or presumed dead. Among those unaccounted for are the U.N.’s mission chief to the country Hedi Annabi, though conflicting reports have stated she died in the collapse. 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.
The Prime Minster urged the population to remain calm while authorities are working to determine the scope of the destruction and reach a better conclusion on how many people were killed or injured. “With maturity, people are trying to take care of themselves in some quiet places. People are trying to help each other on the streets,” he said. It is estimated that 3 million people were affected by the quake, according to the Red Cross. Aid groups inside the country have struggled to reach victims as many of their buildings are in shambles. The aid center, Doctors Without Borders is inoperable as nations from across the globe scramble to lend support.
President Obama announced a “swift, coordinated and aggressive” U.S. response. The U.S. military is working to get ground and air assessments of the damage while the navy will send the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship in port in Baltimore to Haiti. All East-coast based Navy ships have been alerted for standby, officials said. China has pledged a 50-member Chinese rescue team while the U.N. plans to release $10 million in aid immediately and the European Union will pledge $4.4 million in aid. The U.S. military is working to get ground and air assessments of the damage
A sigh of relief came to many aid groups and workers as Haiti’s main airport seemed to escape major damage and was operable for scheduled landings from outside groups.
The 7.0 earthquake struck right before 5 p.m. Tuesday, centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) southwest of Port-au-Prince. It was felt in the Dominican Republic and as far away as eastern Cuba. Roger Searle a geophysics in the Earth Sciences Department at Durham University in England said the power generated by the quake was equivalent to several nuclear bombs. The devastation was magnified as a majority of buildings in the country are not earthquake fortified and made out of concrete.
President Obama urged Americans trying to locate family members in Haiti to telephone the State Department at 888-407-4747.