Thursday, January 14, 2010


The devastation caused by the 7.0 earthquake that shook Haiti to its core is simply incomprehensible:

Port-au-Prince, Haiti — The earthquake spared neither poor nor powerful: The president was homeless, the U.N. mission chief missing, the archbishop dead. Whole neighborhoods were flattened and perhaps tens of thousands of people killed in the latest catastrophe to befall impoverished Haiti.

Dazed survivors wandered past dead bodies in Port-au-Prince's rubble-strewn streets Wednesday, crying for loved ones, and rescuers searched collapsed buildings for signs of life.

The first cargo planes with food, water, medical supplies, shelter and sniffer dogs headed to the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation a day after the magnitude-7 quake flattened much of the capital of 2 million people.

Hospitals, schools and the main prison collapsed in Tuesday's quake. The capital's Roman Catholic archbishop was killed when his office and the main cathedral fell. The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission was missing in the ruins of the organization's multistory headquarters.

At a triage center improvised in a hotel parking lot, people with cuts, broken bones and crushed ribs moaned under tent-like covers fashioned from bloody sheets. "I can't take it anymore. My back hurts too much," said Alex Georges, 28, who was still waiting for treatment a day after the school he was in collapsed and killed 11 classmates. A body lay a few feet away.

"This is much worse than a hurricane," said doctors assistant Jimitre Coquillon. "There's no water. There's nothing. Thirsty people are going to die."

Bodies were everywhere in Port-au-Prince: those of tiny children adjacent to schools, women in the rubble-strewn streets with stunned expressions frozen on their faces, men hidden beneath plastic tarps and cotton sheets.

I can't even begin to imagine the horror. I don't think we will be able to comprehend the body count. Even pictures won't begin to describe what this hell must feel like.

What really makes me sick is that scammers are taking advantage of this horrific situation. These people who take advantage of a disaster for personal gain are a few steps beneath pond scum. For a list of the scams already being perpetrated, click here. For a good, reliable list of ways to help with the relief effort, click here.

May God be with all those who are affected by this disaster.

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