Wednesday, January 13, 2010
TAIWAN - HAITI
"Total chaos" in the capital Port-au-Prince. Thousands of survivors roam the city in search of help. Haiti is the poorest country in the northern hemisphere. 78% live on less than $ 2 per day. In Taipei a team of 140 firefighters and 8 dogs, specializing in emergencies is ready.
Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A magnitude 7 earthquake struck the island of Haiti overnight, the poorest nation in the northern hemisphere, destroying entire buildings and leaving hundreds and perhaps thousands dead. Haiti is one of the countries of Central America that has diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The Foreign Office in Taipei has already expressed willingness to send teams specialized in emergency aid and earthquakes.
In Haiti all communication is down and the only news so far is via satellite. According to eye witness accounts from workers on the ground in a Catholic NGO, Port-au-Prince, the capital is "total chaos" smoke and dust rising from the ruins, survivors and injured people who go around seeking help, people who are still under the rubble. Thousands of people wander the streets crying, which shows, each step revealing new destruction.
The UN, which has 7 thousand peacekeeping soldiers and 2 thousand policemen on the island, said that a building of its headquarters was damaged, and "a large number of its staff scattered”. The UN has been present on the island since 2004, when the then President of Haiti, Bertrand Aristide went into exile.
Haiti, with a population of approximately 9.6 million inhabitants, was recovering from various natural disasters - 4 tropical storms or hurricanes - which killed 800 people in 2008.
From Asia News, "Pope urges international solidarity for Haiti"
From Catholic News Agency, "Pope makes appeal for earthquake victims in Haiti"
VIS-Press release, "Papal Appeal following Earthquake in Haiti"
From Catholic News Service, "Pope prays for victims of Haiti quake, urges generous relief effort," "Pope prays for victims of Haiti quake; archbishop's body found" and "CRS rep expects 'thousands and thousands' of dead, injured in Haiti"
From Vail Daily, "Red Cross: Up to 3 million affected by Haiti quake"
From New Kerala, "Pope: Show generosity to Haiti quake victims"
From Fox News, "Haiti Archbishop Killed in Quake as Churches, Cathedral Reduced to Rubble," and "Homes Toppled, Bodies Piled in Streets After Devastating Haiti Quake"
From MSNBC, "Earthquake leaves Haiti ‘worse than a war zone’"