Haiti quake kills thousands

Caribbean nations PM says toll could cross one lakh-mark

Haiti quake kills thousands


Collapsed floors are seen on a damaged multi-story building in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday,after the largest earthquake ever recorded in Haiti. (AP Photo/Carel Pedre)

With victims trapped under debris and powerful aftershocks rattling the country, looting broke out soon after the 7.0 magnitude quake which spared no part of the capital Port-au-Prince, which was close to the epicentre. Injured residents of the crowded city poured into the streets screaming in panic with each new tremor. Many bodies were just left on the streets, or crushed under debris.

The death toll could top 100,000, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN on Wednesday. The final toll could be “well over 100,000,” the prime minister told the US television channel. “I hope that is not true, because I hope the people had the time to get out.”

The quake toppled the cupola on the gleaming white presidential palace, a major hotel where 200 tourists were missing and the headquarters of the UN mission in Haiti where up to 250 personnel were unaccounted for.
The force’s head Hedi Annabi was among those feared dead, according to France’s foreign minister.

Jordan reported that three of its peacekeepers were killed and 21 wounded in the quake, the most powerful to hit the country in more than a century.
Brazil said four of its peacekeepers were killed while eight Chinese soldiers were buried in rubble and 10 were missing, state media said.
A major international relief operation was set underway with the United States, France, Britain and other countries promising help.

Two hundred foreigners were missing at the Hotel Montana, French Secretary of State for Cooperation Alain Joyandet said. “We know there were 300 people inside the hotel when it collapsed, only around 100 have got out, which greatly concerns us,” he told French radio.

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