Red Cross Estimates 50,000 Dead In Haiti Quake

The Red Cross federation says it estimates there have been 45,000-50,000 deaths in the Haitian earthquake.

Spokesman Jean-Luc Martinage says the Haitian Red Cross came up with the estimate based on information from a wide network of volunteers across the quake-stricken capital of Port-au-Prince.

Martinage says it also is a number that government ministers have been using.

He said Thursday that the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Cross Societies has yet to determine the actual number of deaths.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Haitians piled bodies along the devastated streets of their capital Wednesday after a powerful earthquake flattened the president's palace, the cathedral, hospitals, schools, the main prison and whole neighborhoods. Officials feared thousands - perhaps more than 100,000 - may have perished but there was no firm count.

Death was everywhere in Port-au-Prince. Bodies of tiny children were piled next to schools. Corpses of women lay on the street with stunned expressions frozen on their faces as flies began to gather. Bodies of men were covered with plastic tarps or cotton sheets.

President Rene Preval said he believes thousands were killed in Tuesday afternoon's magnitude-7.0 quake, and the scope of the destruction prompted other officials to give even higher estimates. Leading Sen. Youri Latortue told The Associated Press that 500,000 could be dead, although he acknowledged that nobody really knows.

"Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed," Preval told the Miami Herald. "There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them."

Even the main prison in the capital fell down, "and there are reports of escaped inmates," U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said in Geneva.

The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission was missing and the Roman Catholic archbishop of Port-au-Prince was dead.

"The cathedral, the archbishop's office, all the big churches, the seminaries have been reduced to rubble," Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the apostolic envoy to Haiti, told the Vatican news agency FIDES.

The parking lot of the Hotel Villa Creole was a triage center. People sat with injuries and growing infections by the side of rubble-strewn roads, hoping that doctors and aid would come.

The international Red Cross said a third of Haiti's 9 million people may need emergency aid and that it would take a day or two for a clear picture of the damage to emerge.

At first light Wednesday, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter evacuated four critically injured U.S. Embassy staff to the hospital on the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the military has been detaining suspected terrorists.

President Barack Obama promised an all-out rescue and humanitarian effort, adding that the U.S. commitment to its hemispheric neighbor will be unwavering.

"We have to be there for them in their hour of need," Obama said.


Haiti's president says he believes thousands of people are dead in the aftermath of yesterday afternoon's powerful earthquake.

President Rene Preval says schools and hospitals have collapsed -- along with parliament and the government tax office.

He tells the Miami Herald, "There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them."

Among the dead is the Roman Catholic archbishop of Port-au-Prince. The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti is among the missing.

Aftershocks are still rattling the capital, as people pull bodies from collapsed homes, covering them with sheets by the side of the road.

The International Red Cross and other aid groups are announcing plans for major relief efforts. It says a third of Haiti's 9 million people may need emergency aid. The United Nations says Port-au-Prince's main airport is "fully operational" and open to relief flights.

President Barack Obama promised an all-out rescue and humanitarian effort by the United States.

A young American aide worker -- trapped for about 10 hours under the rubble of her mission house that was destroyed in Haiti's earthquake -- has been rescued by her husband.

Frank Thorp tells CBS's "The Early Show" that he drove 100 miles to Port-au-Prince once he learned of the quake, and dug for over an hour to free his wife, Jillian, and her co-worker Charles Dietsch. He says the two were trapped under about a foot of concrete.

He says he saw his wife's hand from under the rubble and heard her tell him to keep it together and just get her out. He describes it as terrifying.

Emily Smack, the executive director of Haitian Ministries for the Diocese of Norwich, Conn., says a security guard at the mission house is still missing.

The 7.0-magnitude tremor caused massive destruction in the Haitian capital.

Previous Story:
The International Federation of the Red Cross estimates that up to 3 million people have been affected by a powerful earthquake that caused massive destruction in the Haitian capital.

Spokesman Paul Conneally says the fact that the quake occurred very close to Port-au-Prince was "not a good indicator"

He says Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the northern hemisphere and is ill-prepared to handle a major disaster

Conneally told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it would take 24-48 hours before a clear picture emerges of the scale of the destruction.

Meanwhile, international aid groups including the Red Cross are gearing up for a major relief effort in Haiti focused on rescuing survivors and setting up field hospitals for the wounded.

Previous Story:
The first Associated Press reporters in Port au Prince, Haiti, after its powerful earthquake say it's a city devastated.

Everything from simple shacks to the National Palace have collapsed. Tens of thousands have lost their homes in a country where building standards are almost nonexistent.

Many gravely injured people sit in the streets, pleading for doctors. At a wrecked hospital, people screamed for help. Thousands gathered in public squares late into the night, singing hymns and weeping.

The scope of the disaster remains unclear, and even a rough estimate of the number of casualties is impossible yet. Among the missing are U.N. personnel. The U.S. is rushing in search and rescue teams and other aid.

The 7.0 quake struck late Tuesday afternoon.

Previous Story:
A strong earthquake hit the Caribbean nation of Haiti on Tuesday afternoon, where a hospital collapsed. Other buildings also were damaged.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries, but an analyst at the US Geological Survey said there could be substantial damage and casualties. Powerful aftershocks were felt in the first hour.

The earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 and was centered about 10 miles west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, the USGS said. It had a depth of 5 miles.

An Associated Press videographer saw the wrecked hospital in Petionville, near Port-au-Prince, and a US government official reported seeing houses that had tumbled into a ravine.

No further details on any casualties or other damage were immediately available.

Don Blakeman, an analyst at the US Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado, said such a strong quake carried the potential for widespread damage.

"I think we are going to see substantial damage and casualties," he said.

Blakeman said Haiti had already been hit by many aftershocks - the two largest registering magnitude 5.9 and 5.5.

"We expect more aftershocks because this is a large, shallow earthquake," he said.

The quake was felt in the Dominican Republic, which shares a border with Haiti on the island of Hispaniola. Some residents in the capital of Santo Domingo fled their homes.

Another analyst, Dale Grant, said this was the "largest quake recorded in this area." He said the last strong quake was a magnitude-6.7 temblor in 1984.

"Everybody is just totally, totally freaked out and shaken," said Henry Bahn, a US Department of Agriculture official visiting Haiti. "The sky is just grey with dust."

Bahn said he was walking to his hotel room when the ground began to shake.

"I just held on and bounced across the wall," he said. "I just hear a tremendous amount of noise and shouting and screaming in the distance."

Bahn said there were rocks strewn all over the place and he saw a ravine where several homes had been built. "It's just full of collapsed walls and rubble and barbed wire," he said.

Felix Augustin, Haiti's consul general in New York, said he was concerned about everyone in Haiti, including his relatives.

"Communication is absolutely impossible," he said. "I've been trying to call my ministry and I cannot get through … It's mind-boggling."

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  • by pittcounty Location: nc on Jan 14, 2010 at 01:46 PM
    Please just pray and help where you can, I have friends that left Monday to help in Haiti not knowing a quake was coming, we do know they are safe, but until you hear children crying, seeing dead bodies, rivers of blod, and people in fear to call a place home b/c in to may fall... People get over your self about vacation, where the money is coming from, this quake is their 911 only a whole lot worse.... you think US could handle a quake that massive... Just keep them in your prayers....
  • by Anonymous on Jan 14, 2010 at 01:01 PM
    Scroll down to the anonymous person 1:22 am 1-13- 2010 who talked about America and Isreal.I think HE is misinformed a little.
  • by Bill Location: Williamston on Jan 14, 2010 at 12:31 PM
    Alot of you are misunderstanding my thought. I am refering to one anonymous comment saying we are wasting money on isreal. Please everyone get a grip. I am with you all on this matter on Haiti
  • by The Wise One Location: NC on Jan 13, 2010 at 08:49 PM
    "Seriously", I love your post. To all blog posters: it is "IS-RA-EL"; now, that is real. :) If you want beachfront property, you better come to Chapel Hill and other areas of the Triangle so that you can buy all of the real estate you want.
  • by To Breann Location: Goldsboro,nc on Jan 13, 2010 at 01:19 PM
    Please give my thanks to your brother in-law.It takes special people like him.May God bless all affected.My thoughts and prayers are with them.
  • by Seriously? on Jan 13, 2010 at 11:25 AM
    Bill are you serious? REALLY? That is why we are blessed? I just got back from Haiti on a CHURCH mission trip to HELP THY NEIGHBOR. Those people are just as capable as you and me, their only problem is that they were born into a society that is not conducive to their success and live with a very corrupt government. I met many locals there who were Christians and even attended a Protestant church service there wouldnt ya know and I'm sure those people would wonder why you would be so against helping your christian brother in Haiti. I am a christian so I can rightly say that you religious nuts need to get off your Jesus high horse and do what Jesus taught instead of judging and making excuses for why places are the way they are. Actions speak louder than words and your words just make all Christians look bad.
  • by Breann Location: NC on Jan 13, 2010 at 11:19 AM
    I got a call this morning around 9:30am. My brother in law who is in the Marines will be leaving in the next 2 weeks for 30-90 days to help.
  • by We Should All Care Location: Greenville on Jan 13, 2010 at 11:01 AM
    They are human no matter where they live and God loves all his children. Yes I agree these are the end of days. This is like the 2nd earthquake on this side of the globe recently. It could very well be us. If there is an earthquake in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa it could caus a ripple effect tsnami that will hit all the east coast. Everyone should pray for this country.
  • by Kevin Location: Greenville on Jan 13, 2010 at 10:30 AM
    God Bless them all in this, their time of need.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 13, 2010 at 06:57 AM
    Come on, this is a story about Haiti, not Isreal. What you need to be doing is finding a way to donate and help these people. Put yourselves, or the people you love, in their shoes. We should be doing all we can to help them!!!! It's not about religion or economics, it's about HUMANITY!!!!!!
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