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Haiti Earthquake - Hurricane Katrina - Very Different Catastrophes

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Some people are already comparing the earthquake in Haiti with the likings of Hurricane Katrina. Devastation usually reigns, sometimes either in a small or large scale.  Both generally result in a loss of life, and there can be tremendous suffering because of it. But the one main difference is that with a hurricane, there is most always sufficient warning for people to get out of the way. But when it comes to an earthquake, how can anyone prepare for it? The answer is simple. In poverty stricken countries like Haiti, you just can't prepare for it. It happens, people get trapped, crushed and killed, sometimes in a few seconds, but other times the death resulting from an earthquake can be a slow one. In Haiti, people were using their hands, pulling up one stone at a time to help free their friends and relatives. It's been nearly 5 days since the earthquake rocked Haiti, and there are people that are still trapped, some without food or water. Most likely those people may already be dead, because of starvation and the lack of fluids.
President Obama is outwardly reaching to Haiti, and providing necessary help and relief efforts in an attempt to help bring this tragedy to a close. But the scares of this earthquake will be felt by native Haitians for years and decades. Lives and homes have been lost. Even the Presidential Palace ended up in ruins. In a recent conversation with the President of Haiti, he told the reporter that he did not have a place to live or even a place to sleep. There are no national emergency measures in force at this time, and without the help of outside countries, there would be a monumental loss of life, along with disease and famine spreading wild.
Many peace keeping countries around the world are sending aid to the earthquake stricken country. Countries around the world are swinging behind a huge aid effort for quake-ravaged Haiti, with at least 30 nations having sent or readying help, a US official said on Friday.
Eight search-and-rescue teams were already on the ground in Port-au-Prince comprising about 260 personnel, who had joined the grim search for survivors among the ruins, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said.
"Obviously this is still a very growing list, but our estimate is that at least 30 countries have meaningful assistance that has already reached Haiti or is en route," he said.
"So not only is the United States' commitment to Haiti growing, but also the international commitment as well."
Apart from a US team on the ground, there were also staff in place from Iceland, Spain, Chile, he said, adding they had helped free to people from the ruins.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon announced earlier that relief workers from China, the Dominican Republic, France and Venezuela had also joined the huge operation to help the Haitians devastated by Tuesday's 7.0 quake.
Crowley also confirmed news of the first American to have been killed by the massive temblor, identifying her as the US cultural affairs officer in Haiti, Victoria DeLong, who had served in the country since 2009.
"It's a tragedy for the State Department, for our family and the public diplomacy and public affairs world," Crowley said, adding she died when her home collapsed.

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