Photo by Eduardo Munoz, REUTERS
The people of Haiti are perhaps the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. An Earthquake registering 7.0 on the Richter Scale. You’ll recall, the San Francisco earthquake of 1989 was also 7.0, and it pancaked portions of a bridge. Haiti has not got California’s stringent building codes, and they certainly do not build to survive quakes. This event has resulted in numerous building collapses, including hospitals. Haiti in now under Tsunami watch, and things sound very bad:
One witness says buildings have collapsed in Port-Au-Prince and people can be heard screaming. The witness says dead and injured are under the rubble. Ambassador Raymond Alcide Joseph told CNN he was heartbroken as he had just spoken by telephone with a senior presidential aide who described scenes of chaos and devastation.
“He had to stop his car just about half an hour ago, and take to the streets, start walking, but he said houses were crumbling on the right side of the street and the left side of the street,” Mr Joseph said.
Via Hot Air:
Another video via Chuck Simmins who is really the go-to guy on the web:
The Pope’s Representative to Haiti: gives a first hand account of the destruction:
Auza reported that many government buildings had been razed. All of the Ministry buildings but one were on the ground, as were the Presidential Palace and the schools.
“Parliament with the Senators, the schools with the children, the supermarkets were reduced to nothing,” the nuncio stated.
The nuncio had made his way across the city to see the Haitian President and “express his condolences and solidarity” and found that, because they had been outdoors, he and his family had been saved although their home had crumbled.
People who live in front of the collapsed U.N. headquarters had reported to Auza that the head of that mission, Hedi Annabi, was trapped inside with hundreds of others.
The nuncio said that he had returned to his residence later in the morning to find “Priests and Sisters in the street, no longer with homes. The Rector of the seminary saved himself, as did the Dean of studies, but the seminarians are under the rubble. You hear yells everywhere from underneath the rubble.”
Spokesperson for Catholic Relief Services expects deaths to number in the thousands
The Pope has activated worldwide Catholic relief for Haiti.
I will be donating to Food For the Poor, an terrific organization serving those in desperate need in the Caribbean and Latin America. I have written before about the excellent work they do, and the people they serve. And they really do serve. In 2008, over 97% of their donations went directly their programs in aid to the poor.
A donation to their General Fund “goes to where the greatest need is at the moment.” That would be Haiti, right now and they’ve created a dedicated contribution page. Food for the Poor is helping to get information out:
“Everything started shaking, people were screaming, houses started collapsing … it’s total chaos,” Reuters reporter Joseph Guyler Delva said. “I saw people under the rubble, and people killed,” he added.
A local employee for the U.S. charity Food for the Poor reported seeing a five-storey building collapse in Port-au-Prince, a spokeswoman for the group, Kathy Skipper, told Reuters.
Another Food for the Poor employee said there were more houses destroyed than standing in Delmas Road, a major thoroughfare in the city.
Panic-stricken residents filled the streets desperately trying to dig people from rubble or seeking missing relatives as dark fell shortly after the quake. “People were screaming ‘Jesus, Jesus’ and running in all directions,” Delva said.
Donate securely here.
Other ways to help:
Catholic Relief Services
United Methodist Committee on Relief
The Red Cross
Providence in Haiti
American Jewish World Service
Lutheran World Relief
International Orthodox Christian Charities
Partners in Development
Reports of bodies being piled in the streets
America Magazine has an update from Catholic Relief Services:
Karel Zelenka, CRS’s country representative for Haiti told CRS spokesperson John Rivera the devastation is unlike anything he’s ever seen. “I’ve been in earthquakes before,” Zelenka told Rivera. “This was a major earthquake and a direct hit [on the capital]. There must be thousands dead.”
“It is a disaster of the century,” he reported in a blog post. “We should be prepared for thousands and thousands of dead and injured.”
Rivera described conditions in Port-au-Prince as “total chaos.”
Reader DeLynn sends along updated posts from a missionary friend in Haiti who is posting on Facebook:
6:30 a.m.–We are still alive at this point. We spent the night under the stars up in the hills. Didn’t sleep too well. The streets are completely packed with people wandering around. It’s 6:30 AM. The damage here is Petit Goave is massive. Our house is still standing for the moment but another one two houses up from us collapsed.
6:30a.m.–The main stresser right now is the continual tremors. They continued all night and right up until 4 seconds ago. It’s like things have not settled yet. Even if we live to tell about this, Haiti is in the middle of a major catastrohe. I’m not trying to sound dramatic, but I want folks to keep praying. This isn’t over yet.
7:30a.m.–I keep hoping to wake up and find this was all a very bad dream, but it’s beginning to seem like it’s real. Phone lines are mostly down still so we are unable to communicate even within Haiti. And with no electricity the radio stations here are all out in our area.
7:30a.m.–To show you how bad it is, for those who have stayed at the hotel here across from the big Catholic church. The Catholic church is completely reduced to rubble. The whole area looks like a war zone.
Gateway Pundit: Archbishops Serge Miot of Port Au Prince Killed in Quake
Michelle Malkin: chronicles how America is helping
Doctor Zero: Our Duty to Mankind:
In a nation with 22% real unemployment, people who haven’t worked in months are digging deep to make Red Cross donations. . . . the governments and people of other nations make admirable efforts, but none has the combination of strength and compassion that makes Americans the first to lift debris from broken bodies, or raise emergency medical tents where hospitals once stood. The selfish and brutal tyrannies jockeying for dominance of the post-American world do not have the heart, and the good people fearfully watching their shadows lengthen don’t have the wealth.
Which brings to mind this 2003 essay by Thomas Sowell.
CNN is announcing that about 9,000 UN Peacekeepers are unaccounted for. France fears that the entire UN contingent are dead.
After the 2004 Tsunami, President Bush sent the navy to help. It seems President Obama will do the same in this situation. That’s good. CNN announces that the USNS Comfort has been deployed as she was during Katrina.
Ed Morrissey notes that the death toll in Haiti may exceed the horrifying numbers of that event.
Animals always know
Prayer: Commenter Ellen notes that asking Ven. Pierre Toussaint, a former slave, born in Haiti, to pray for Haiti is a good idea. I agree. Over at Happy Catholic, one of Julie’s commenters, noting the psalms eerie ability to speak to the day writes:
just take a look at the second Psalm from today’s Office of Readings:
“The earth moved and shook,
at the coming of his anger the roots of the mountains rocked
and were shaken…
…but the Lord was my support.
He led me to the open spaces,
he was my deliverance, for he held me in favour.”
Some will say “where is God in all of this?” The answer, of course, is that God is in the response.
Fr. Steve’s Blog
Just One Minute
Catholic Vote Action
Kathryn Jean Lopez
Insty links and has more. Thanks!
Sweetness and Light
Midwest Conservative Journal
Hollywood Unites for Haiti