January 14, 2010

Monster Quake Magnifies Haiti's History of Misery

Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince was described as "flattened" by a devastating earthquake that struck on Tuesday (Jan 12). CNN reported a Haitian government official as saying that the 7.0-magnitude quake may have killed more than 100,000.

Reports coming in indicated that three million people, about one-third of Haiti's population, were affected by the quake.

This is the country's worst quake in two centuries, destroying Haiti's presidential palace which was the most beautiful building in the capital and many other buildings in the city, including the UN headquarters here.

Aids are pouring in from many countries. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the United Nations plans to release $10 million in aid immediately.

Meanwhile, the World Bank had pledged another $100 million. CNN reported that President Obama promised a "swift, coordinated and aggressive" response from the United States.

Xinhua news agency reported that China was preparing to send a 50-member rescue team, including three sniffer dogs. China has 125 peace-keeping police in Haiti, but no diplomatic ties with the country, Xinhua reported.

The Haiti quake set the Internet abuzz as news seekers flocked to Twitter for more immediate information. Web surfers also scoured blogs to get the latest.

Nick Caistor of the BBC News writes:

"Haiti appears to have had more than its fair share of chaos, poverty and natural disasters. And, as has happened so often in the nation's past, just when the situation was getting better, a fresh catastrophe struck."

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

> Haiti Quake News Updates

> BBC News Live Coverage

> BBC News: Eyewitnesses speak of devastation


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