(Tequila Minsky for The New York Times)
What a nightmare for Haiti. There has been some good news for them lately (Despite Years of Crushing Poverty, Hope Grows in Haiti)but not after this.
A powerful earthquake hit the impoverished country of Haiti on Tuesday, collapsing the presidential palace and numerous other critical government buildings and raising fears of substantial casualties in what a witness called “a major, major disaster.” The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.0 and was centered about 10 miles west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed by at least eight powerful aftershocks of magnitude 5.0 or greater, the USGS reported. "People are out in the streets, crying, screaming, shouting," Karel Zelenka, director of the Catholic Relief Services office in Haiti told The Washington Post. "They see the extent of the damage," he said, but can do little to rescue people.
Numerous public buildings were destroyed along with the palace, including the parliament building, the Finance Ministry, the Public Works Ministry, the Palace of Justice and Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Port-au-Prince, the national cathedral, Haiti TV reported. The headquarters of the U.N. peacekeeping mission sustained serious damage and a number of personnel were unaccounted for, said U.N. peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy. He said other U.N. installations also were seriously damaged. The U.N. has a 9,000-member peacekeeping force in Haiti, following a 2004 rebellion. A local employee for the U.S. charity Food for the Poor said more buildings were destroyed than were left standing along Delmas Road, a major thoroughfare in the city.
I've been through two massive earthquakes and I know the feeling of dread. A 7.0 feels like the end of the world. It's a horrifying experience, but the buildings in California are built better than the structures in Haiti. After you go through an earthquake the after shocks are actually more terrifying.