News / Americas

Haiti Quake Devastation Prompts Global Response

Multimedia

Audio
Michael Bowman

Untold numbers of Haitians are dead, trapped in rubble or missing after the country's worst earthquake in two centuries. The international community is rushing to provide emergency aid for the impoverished Caribbean nation, where as many as three million people are believed to have been affected by Tuesday's 7.0-magnitude temblor that struck outside the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Haiti's streets have become impromptu morgues, with grief-stricken survivors lining roads with bodies even as trapped survivors continue to scream for help.

Frank Thorp, the husband of an American aid worker in Haiti, described the scene on NBC television's Today program.

"There are dead people," said Frank Thorp. "There are people dying on the streets.  There are injured on the streets.  There are so many people here that need help."

The national palace, Port-au-Prince's main hospital, and the headquarters of the U.N. mission in Haiti are among the thousands of structures that collapsed - inflicting a death toll that could take weeks to compile.  Scores of U.N. personnel are unaccounted for.

Nadeje Pamphile, who lives on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, spoke with VOA by telephone.

"In my house, the walls are cracked," she said. "Thankfully, my immediate family is okay, but my grandmother's house collapsed, and a brother and a nephew are under the rubble.  They are trapped.  We can hear their voices, but we cannot reach them yet."

Nations around the world are sending aid and rescue teams to Haiti.  President Barack Obama pledged the "full support" of the United States to the people of Haiti, and directed his administration to deliver aid as rapidly as possible.  The Pentagon says ships, helicopters, transport planes and thousands of U.S. troops are being readied for an emergency mission to provide relief and security in earthquake-ravaged areas.

Tens of millions of dollars in aid have been promised by the United Nations and a vast array of international groups, along with dozens of nations.

Already, emergency response teams are en route to Haiti from several locations, including Fairfax County, Virginia, just outside Washington.

Fairfax County spokeswoman, Renee Stillwell:

"We have a doctor on the team, paramedics and firefighters that will be helping with rescue efforts when they get there and treat the wounded," said Renee Stillwell.

Special dogs are also part of the team.

"Cadaver dogs and search and rescue dogs," she said. "They are trained very differently, but the whole purpose is to find victims."

And time is of the essence if lives are to be saved, according to Paul Conneally of the International Red Cross.

"The first 48 hours [after a disaster] are extremely important because this is when people who are trapped under the rubble can hopefully be detected and rescued, and emergency attention given to the wounded so that the wounds they have incurred because of the earthquake do not become life threatening," said Paul Conneally.

Haiti's ambassador to the United States, Raymond Joseph, welcomed U.S. pledges of assistance.

"It [the quake] is a major catastrophe for Haiti," said Ambassador Joseph. "We have gone through others before.  I am quite sure the Haitian people, courageous as they are, will come out of it in unity.  In the meantime, I am asking for the international solidarity with Haiti now in our time of distress."

Haiti is the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation, ravaged by frequent hurricanes, centuries of political instability, chronic underdevelopment, and, until recently, one of the world's highest HIV infection rates.  
 

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Former El Salvador President to Await Graft Trial in Jail, Not at Home

Francisco Flores, who had been on the run until early Sept. before turning himself in, accused of misappropriating $15M in 2001 earthquake relief donations
More

US Won't Impede Venezuela's UN Security Council Bid

Washington is clearly unhappy, however, with idea of country joining the Council, which has the task of overseeing international peace and security
More

Video Dehydration Is Top Killer of Southern Arizona's Migrants

US Border Patrol's search and rescue unit launches 'blue blinking light of life program' - a series of poles strategically placed throughout desert that emit high-intensity blue light
More

US Steps Up Pressure on Guatemala Over Labor Rights

Trade representative says Obama administration will push ahead with legal action under free trade agreement to make country meet international standards
More

Video US Attempts Crackdown on Trafficking Along Southern Border

Nogales, Arizona, notoriously known as 'tunnel city,' used by traffickers to smuggle humans, narcotics into US and Border Patrol responds with new technologies
More

Video Arizona Non-Profit Helps Keep Dehydrated Migrants Alive

The Sonoran Desert, a common crossing point for illegal immigrants, is one of North America's hottest places
More