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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

US Coast Guard Rescues 33 Cubans at Sea

Because the overloaded boat did not make landfall, those rescued will be returned to Cuba
More

Search Underway at New Site in Mexico Missing Students Case

This week marked one month since the students went missing after clashing with police in mysterious circumstances
More

Public Transport in Latin America, Asia Most Dangerous for Women

Thousands of women and gender experts were questioned to create the listing
More

Kerry Lays Wreath for Slain Canadian Soldier

World has been witness to Canada's strength in face of tragedy, he says
More

Crowds Gather for Funeral of Canadian Soldier Killed in Ottawa

Corporal Nathan Cirillo, 24, was shot dead in last week near Canada's parliament building in attack allegedly carried out by convert to Islam
More

Mexico Makes New Arrests in Student Disappearances

Attorney General says four more gang members from the Guerreros Unidos cartel who 'organized the disappearance' of the teacher trainees are in custody
More