(Social Justice South Africa)
[English; Afrikaans; français]
Article by Marc Aupiais
According to America's Associated Press (USA; Independent; American) 13 / 01 | January / 2009:
"PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The strongest earthquake in more than 200 years rocked Haiti on Tuesday, collapsing a hospital where people screamed for help and heavily damaging the National Palace, U.N. peacekeeper headquarters and other buildings. U.S. officials reported bodies in the streets and an aid official described "total disaster and chaos."
United Nations officials said hours after the 7.0-magnitude quake struck at 4:53 p.m. that they still couldn't account for a large number of U.N. personnel.
Communications were widely disrupted, making it impossible to get a full picture of damage as powerful aftershocks shook a desperately poor country where many buildings are flimsy. Electricity was out in some places.
Karel Zelenka, a Catholic Relief Services representative in Port-au-Prince, told U.S. colleagues before phone service failed that "there must be thousands of people dead," according to a spokeswoman for the aid group, Sara Fajardo.
"He reported that it was just total disaster and chaos, that there were clouds of dust surrounding Port-au-Prince," Fajardo said from the group's offices in Maryland."
Catholic Relief Services elaborates (Catholic; Subject to USCCB US Bishops; American; questioned over position on condoms, global partners) 12 / 01 | Janurary / 2009 where the article was written; 13 / 01 | January / 2009 more likely time in GMT+2:
"The U.S. Geological Survey reports that a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti 10 miles southwest of the capital of Port au Prince at 4:53 p.m. Eastern, Tuesday, Jan. 12.
The initial quake was followed by two aftershocks.
Reliable damage and casualty estimates are unavailable at this time. CRS staffers in Baltimore have been in touch with Haiti staff. CRS/Haiti reports that those who remained at the office after 4 p.m. are safe. The condition of other CRS staff is unknown at this time (7:30 p.m. Eastern).
CRS/Haiti reports that cell phone use is unavailable. They communicated with Baltimore via land line. They reported that the CRS office building is still standing, but others, including one near the office, had collapsed. They reported that clouds of dust and smoke surround the city of Port au Prince. Before the phone connection was lost they characterized the situation as choatic, and feared many dead in what they called “a major hit … a direct hit.”
A tsunami watch was issued for Haiti and nearby islands.
CRS will continue to update with information as it becomes available. Our prayers and thoughts are with the people of Haiti and all CRS/Haiti staff and their loved ones."
The position on information relating to condoms, of the CRS has caused CatholicCulture.org to question their fidelity to the faith, along with some of their global partners:
To donate to CRS' efforts to attempt to help Haiti, please follow this link: