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OmegaNYC
January 12th, 2010, 09:12 PM
Haiti earthquake: Port-au-Prince rocked by 7.3 quake; buildings collapse, hundreds feared dead

By Helen Kennedy (http://www.nydailynews.com/authors/Helen%20Kennedy)
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Originally Published:Tuesday, January 12th 2010, 5:29 PM
Updated: Tuesday, January 12th 2010, 8:48 PM

http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2010/01/13/alg_haiti_quake.jpg
AFP/Getty
Scene of chaos and devastation in the densely-populated Port-au-Prince area of Haiti after a huge quake rocked the region


Another major tragedy hit star-crossed Haiti (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Haiti) Tuesday when a massive earthquake smashed the capital, knocking down hospitals, high-rises, ministries, churches and part of the presidential palace.
Hundreds - maybe thousands - of dead and wounded people were believed buried under rubble.

"It's going to be a major catastrophe when we start to count the dead," said Haitian Ambassador Raymond Joseph (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Raymond+Joseph).
Haitipal TV reported many of the downtown buildings had collapsed, including the parliament. The presidential palace was badly damaged, Joseph said.
He said he was told President René Préval (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Rene+Preval) was not hurt.
In the center of town, more buildings were down than standing, witnesses said.

"People were screaming 'Jesus, Jesus' and running in all directions," said Reuters (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Reuters+Group+plc) reporter Joseph Guyler Delva. "It's total chaos."
A five-story apartment building was also said to have fallen down, with much loss of life.
The magnitude 7.3 quake hit near the capital Port-au-Prince (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Port-au-Prince), home to 2 million people, at 4:53 p.m.

Two powerful aftershocks measuring 5.9 and 5.5 on the Richter scale soon followed, further damaging structures weakened by the initial quake.
Haiti has been struggling to recover from a string of hurricanes that devastated the island in 2008, destroying the island's infrastructure and killing hundreds.
President Obama (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Barack+Obama) said the United States (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/United+States) stood ready to help with the latest crisis.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by this earthquake," he said.
The Red Cross (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/International+Federation+of+Red+Cross+and+Red+Cres cent+Societies) pledged an initial $200,000 in aid. "We do have staff on the ground - we have not been able to reach them," said Red Cross spokesman Abbi Weaver (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Abbi+Weaver).

Witnesses said the streets of the capital were full of panicked people, and screams were coming from under the piles of rubble seen everywhere.
People were clawing at the rubble with their bare hands, trying to save loved ones, witnesses said.

Power was out, radio was off-line and phone service was down. Haitians in New York City (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/New+York+City) frantically trying to contact relatives back home were having little luck getting through.
There were reports the airport in Port-au-Prince was badly hit, which could hamper efforts to fly in aid.
Emergency meetings were being held at the State Department (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/U.S.+Department+of+State), which was having trouble contacting the Haitian government.
"We will be providing both civilian and military disaster relief," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Hillary+Clinton). "Our prayers are with the people who have suffered."

Her husband, former President Bill Clinton (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Bill+Clinton), who is the United Nations (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/United+Nations) Special Envoy for Haiti, promised his office was "committed to do whatever we can to assist the people of Haiti."
In Petitionville, where a hospital fell down on top of screaming patients, a visiting U.S. Department of Agriculture (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/U.S.+Department+of+Agriculture) official said he saw a number of homes collapsed into a ravine.

"The sky is just gray with dust," Henry Bahn (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Henry+Bahn) told the Associated Press (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/The+Associated+Press).
"I just hear a tremendous amount of noise and shouting and screaming in the distance."
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Eliot+Engel), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere subcommittee, urged the administration "to do everything possible to help."
"This is the worst possible time for a natural disaster in Haiti, a country which is still recovering from the devastating storms of just over a year ago," Engel said.

A government analyst it was the worst quake to ever hit Haiti, which was last hit by a major magnitude-6.7 temblor in 1984.
The poorest and most densely populated country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been through untold misery in recent years.
The island was just begining to start showing the first signs of recovery from the relentless battering of hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Hurricane+Ike).

Daquan13
January 12th, 2010, 10:53 PM
There was also one in northern California the other day.

Derek2k3
January 12th, 2010, 10:54 PM
Hopefully it's not as bad as officials fear.
Mother nature sure hasn't been kind to Haiti, nor have Haitians been kind to it.

Daquan13
January 12th, 2010, 10:58 PM
Mother Nature hasn't been too kind to the U.S. this winter either. The warmest place this winter sor far, has been Hawaii!

Below freezing temps have reached as far as Texas and Florida!

scumonkey
January 13th, 2010, 12:01 AM
i'd take a little cold over a little dead any day ;)

speedy1979
January 13th, 2010, 12:06 AM
Hopefully it's not as bad as officials fear.
Mother nature sure hasn't been kind to Haiti, nor have Haitians been kind to it.

Actually it may be worse.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01557/haitiscene_1557964c.jpg

Article is located here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/haiti/6978444/Haiti-earthquake-staff-missing-as-UN-headquarters-damaged.html


http://cdn.mashable.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/haiti-3.jpg

speedy1979
January 13th, 2010, 12:16 AM
The first building you see in this video is the Presidential Palace which would be the equivalent to our White House. I sure hope the President wasn't home.:(:eek:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IySBl2aq-A

OmegaNYC
January 13th, 2010, 12:49 AM
^^^

Horrific.

WorldStarHipHop.com, (http://www.worldstarhiphop.com/videos/video.php?v=wshhd4jO2LN3U8fO98Fz) has some video feed of Haiti, after the quake. Just terrible.

stache
January 13th, 2010, 04:43 AM
7.3 is bigger than the Kobe earthquake. :(

Daquan13
January 13th, 2010, 05:41 AM
i'd take a little cold over a little dead any day ;)



Not so fast.

Even though the numbers may be small, some people have died as a result of the recent brutal winter storms and bitterly cold temps that have plagued the country since early last month.

Ninjahedge
January 13th, 2010, 08:24 AM
Stop splitting hairs.



I am looking, some modern buildings only 2 stories went down? Wow. I wonder what that area was originally rated for. Any LEGITIMATE construction (not shanty) in the past 10 years or so should have been able to remain vertical (not discounting other damage).

The presidential palace went down? Time to call in the forensic team! That just should not happen.

speedy1979
January 13th, 2010, 08:56 AM
Stop splitting hairs.



I am looking, some modern buildings only 2 stories went down? Wow. I wonder what that area was originally rated for. Any LEGITIMATE construction (not shanty) in the past 10 years or so should have been able to remain vertical (not discounting other damage).

The presidential palace went down? Time to call in the forensic team! That just should not happen.

My thoughts exactly!

lofter1
January 13th, 2010, 09:43 AM
Reports state that the damage is so intense due to the shallow depth of the earthquake: 6 miles below the surface.

The National Palace (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Palace_(Haiti)) (Presidential Palace) was built in 1918. Only 2 stories, but featuring three domed areas supported by columns -- not necessarily a good match for a strong quake.

lofter1
January 13th, 2010, 11:03 AM
http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/

dtolman
January 13th, 2010, 11:04 AM
Stop splitting hairs.

I am looking, some modern buildings only 2 stories went down? Wow. I wonder what that area was originally rated for. Any LEGITIMATE construction (not shanty) in the past 10 years or so should have been able to remain vertical (not discounting other damage).

The presidential palace went down? Time to call in the forensic team! That just should not happen.

This is Haiti... are you familiar with it? Its the biggest wreck in the West... they don't even measure unemployment - its estimated to be between 50 and 70%.

The country's #1 cash producing export is its own crushing poverty - most hard currency there comes from relatives sending money back home.

NOTHING there is to code. The "middle class" lives in a shanty town. Don't ask about the poor. The real "presidential palace" was effectively the UN mission building where the UN ran things - which also collapsed.

Haiti was ****ed before the earthquake. I don't know how much worse it can get. They'll have to come up with a new curse word to adequately measure how ****ed that country is.

speedy1979
January 13th, 2010, 11:14 AM
For those who wish to donate to Haiti. You can do so by texting "HAITI" to 90999. You will receive a reply from the Redcross asking you to confirm your donation reply with "YES". This will send $10 to the Redcross.

Don't worry this is legit. See here http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/01/13/help-haiti

MidtownGuy
January 13th, 2010, 11:17 AM
^thanks for posting that link.
What a terrible tragedy, and in a place so troubled already.

lofter1
January 13th, 2010, 11:24 AM
The UN Mission in Haiti was housed in a '60s era building that collapsed, with early reports (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100113/ap_on_re_eu/un_un_haiti) stating that "at least 11 peacekeepers reported dead on Wednesday, and scores of others missing."

dtolman
January 13th, 2010, 11:33 AM
The UN Mission in Haiti was housed in a '60s era building that collapsed, with early reports (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100113/ap_on_re_eu/un_un_haiti) stating that "at least 11 peacekeepers reported dead on Wednesday, and scores of others missing."

Not just that - the head of the UN Mission, along with the deputy head are both missing - along with 100 other UN staffers - and are presumably dead or trapped in the rubble.

NY Times is reporting that power is out. Landlines are out. Major roads are impassable. Most major government offices were destroyed.

One quote that stood out, just to understand the potential devastation in a country where no buildings are up to code:

Victor Tsai, a seismologist at the National Earthquake Information Center of the United States Geological Survey, said the depth of Tuesday’s earthquake was only about six miles and the quake was a 9 on a 1-to-10 scale that measures ground shaking. “We expect substantial damage from this event,” he said.

ZippyTheChimp
January 13th, 2010, 12:43 PM
I don't think there are two more disparate countries on one island (Hispaniola) anywhere in the world than Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The Caribbean Plate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean_plate) boundary with the North American Plate runs east west north of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The plate moves eastward relative to the North American Plate, and the boundary is a transform fault (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transform_boundary).

Ninjahedge
January 13th, 2010, 01:14 PM
dtol, I was referring to the two pictures shown.

The buildings that suffer the most from earthquakes are usually about 5-20 stories tall. Around that tall they have periods that are close to the periods that are generated by the earthquake, producing additive resonant effects thus amplifying the forces felt.

2 stories shake right along with the ground. Almost no amplification. That building shown with all the cars parked in front looked like it was relatively squat and if it had just about any lateral system it should have stood. I never said that I did not believe that it fell, but that I was surprised that it showed so much damage.

Also, the UN building being leveled is also surprising in that I would suspect it would have SOME sort of lateral resisting system, but it seems like it did not.


Now, as for the EQ being bad, when you have a 7+ eq, that is a measure of its force. The way the news has been phrasing it is that somehow the 7.2 itself was bad because of the shallow earthquake.

It is more like the EARTHQUAKE was a 7.2 because of its shallowness, which is bad. 7.2 IS bad, by definition. The only thing that could make it worse depends on the ground motion itself, like in Northridge where there were (I think) P-waves (I believe that was the term, meaning "Perpendicular?) that produced a vertical excitation that crushed support columns and sheared off connections that were not designed for vertical loads (they were intended to resist sidesway).

Since then that has been changed in California code, but, as mentioned, that does not matter in Haiti.


I guess the only advantage to living in a shanty down there is that the stuff that falls on you is not that heavy... :(

dtolman
January 13th, 2010, 01:36 PM
Oh I'm with you 100% there Ninjahedge - just trying to point out that your expectations of construction in Haiti are completely out of whack. Its enough for them that it stands normally. I doubt there was any reinforcement in any building... except maybe the original colonial era buildings, ironically.

Still - according to my (scanty) earthquake knowledge - any city with level 9 out of 12 ground shaking on the Mercalli scale is pretty screwed - code or not. According to the scale, this is the level of destruction expected in the city:


General panic; damage considerable in specially designed structures, well designed frame structures thrown out of plumb. Damage great in substantial buildings, with partial collapse. Buildings shifted off foundations.

scumonkey
January 13th, 2010, 03:18 PM
Not so fast.

Even though the numbers may be small, some people have died as a result of the recent brutal winter storms and bitterly cold temps that have plagued the country since early last month. Am I the only one here that finds comparing A cold snap against this tragedy to be utterly ridiculous? :rolleyes:

lofter1
January 13th, 2010, 06:26 PM
^ left me speechless (momentarily).

OmegaNYC
January 13th, 2010, 10:15 PM
Pat Robertson: Haiti 'cursed' by pact with devil

1/13/2010, 6:13 p.m. EST
The Associated Press (AP) — VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson says Haiti has been "cursed" because of what he called a "pact with the devil" in its history.

His spokesman said the Wednesday comments were based on Voodoo rituals carried out before a slave rebellion against French colonists in 1791.

Spokesman Chris Roslan says Robertson never stated that Tuesday's earthquake was God's wrath. He says Robertson's Operation Blessing group is sending millions of dollars in medication and relief workers to the country.


Robertson has angered opponents many times before with comments on current events and criticism of other faiths.
He once said American agents should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for withdrawing from the Gaza Strip.


© 2010 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

zupermaus
January 14th, 2010, 08:58 AM
Reports put the death toll now to possibly climb as high as 500,000.

Basically the Richter Scale measures the amount of force released - but its problematic as it doesnt measure the amount of force that is translated to the surface. For example the 9.0 that hit Sumatra was barely damaging on land as it was so deep (yet powerful enough to produce a tsunami that hours later would wipe out 250,000 people) - compare that to the 1963 tremor that levelled the capital of Macedonia, Skopje, in seconds, and that measured only 6.1. This latter quake was just below the surface, and nearby.


The Mercalli scale measures the intensity at the surface, but is non-scientific as it relies on witness data, which is very changeable. That's the problem.



The other thing is that different quakes give off different waveslengths, and thus effect different building heights. Some tremors will take down highrises while leaving lowrises intact, some take down midrises only (as in Mexico City in 1985), while others will wipe out swathes of lowrise buildings.

Ninjahedge
January 14th, 2010, 09:14 AM
I am not sure about that ZM.

Richter is just a shake device. I will have to look and see if it is only at the source or if it is measured at the surface centered on the source......:confused:

Ninjahedge
January 14th, 2010, 09:19 AM
Sorry, double post...



the other thing ZM, is although the wavelengths are different, it is really the frequency that we are concerned with. Wavelength varies for the same frequency depending on the media it is transferring through. Depending on the frequency, and the relative direction (transverse or perpendicular) you get some interesting results.....



BACK TO WORK!!! ;)

speedy1979
January 14th, 2010, 09:28 AM
I believe thats why scientist use the Moment Magnitude scale. While engineers use peak acceleration values. If you look at the map I posted you'll see that while the Magnitude of the earthquake is 7.0. The peak acceleration values are more typical of a MM 9.0+. Which means that at times the ground accelerated at 32 feet per second which is equivalent to free-fall.:eek::eek:

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/shakemap/global/shake/2010rja6/download/intensity.jpg

dtolman
January 14th, 2010, 10:01 AM
Note that the bulls-eye of that was Port-au-Prince - where 25-30% of the population of Haiti lives. You can't get more screwed by an earthquake than that.

zupermaus
January 14th, 2010, 12:14 PM
I am not sure about that ZM.

Richter is just a shake device. I will have to look and see if it is only at the source or if it is measured at the surface centered on the source......:confused:

Ype it may be a shake device, but it measures the energy released too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richter_magnitude_scale:





The energy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy) release of an earthquake, which closely correlates to its destructive power, scales with the 3⁄2 power of the shaking amplitude. Thus, a difference in magnitude of 1.0 is equivalent to a factor of 31.6 ( = (101.0)(3 / 2)) in the energy released; a difference of magnitude of 2.0 is equivalent to a factor of 1000 ( = (102.0)(3 / 2) ) in the energy released.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richter_magnitude_scale#cite_note-0)

Prioblem it doesnt measure how the energy dissipates (eg where it impacts, via how deep or shallow to the surface it is)

lofter1
January 14th, 2010, 03:12 PM
At YouTube: Haiti Earthquake Caught on Tape (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXHopCrs46U)

Ninjahedge
January 15th, 2010, 08:36 AM
ZM, I know that the scale is logarithmic, and I believe the 2/3 number you suggested might be the area under the curve (Energy = Force x Distance), so doing a direct correlation may be difficult in laymans terms (energy has different units than force).

The dissapation of this energy, as well as reflected waveforms off of subsurface strata, liquafaction of loose granular soils and other factors come in when measuring the destruction.


The thing is, with an area like this, almost any kind of shaking at this magnitude, with this population density, is not a good thing.

gundam00
January 15th, 2010, 06:44 PM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Downtown_Port_au_Prince_after_earthquake.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/78/Haiti_earthquake_camp.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/Haitian_Port_Damage1.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/Haiti_earthquake_damage_overhead.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1a/USCG_Cutters_Haiti_2010_Earthquake.JPG

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ce/Haitian_national_palace_earthquake.jpg

I just got these from Wikipedia, you may have seen them already.

zupermaus
January 16th, 2010, 06:18 AM
ZM, I know that the scale is logarithmic, and I believe the 2/3 number you suggested might be the area under the curve (Energy = Force x Distance), so doing a direct correlation may be difficult in laymans terms (energy has different units than force).

The dissapation of this energy, as well as reflected waveforms off of subsurface strata, liquafaction of loose granular soils and other factors come in when measuring the destruction.


The thing is, with an area like this, almost any kind of shaking at this magnitude, with this population density, is not a good thing.

at the end of the day NJ the Richter scale doesnt measure the shaking at the surface of where the quake hit (only from where the instrument is located, thousands of miles away even).

It may pinpoint it on the map, and work out the energy released, but not the effect at ground level. Like I mentioned some weaker quakes will be violent enough to throw hundreds of thousands of people into their ceilings (Tangshan), whereas stronger quakes will be felt merely as deep rumbles and slow ground waves (as in the Asian Tsunami 9.0 quake). Like we've both mentioned neither is it measured how the energy is released or dissipated - Tangshan's quake levelled an entire city in seconds, whereas the recent Sichuan Quake lasted 3 minutes, sparing the major cities, but levelling traditionally built villages across the region. Long wavelengths will topple tall buildings, short wavelengths may target lowrises - the damage felt will thus even depend on the city's built form. New Yorkers might see their city disintegrate in terrifying jolts, whilst those on the Jersey side would just ride the waves.

The other most obvious thing is of course how far away the effected area was to the quake. The 1996 Kobe quake directly hit beneath the city, the first to score a direct hit on an urban area, whilst much stronger quakes may affect cities close by yet not so destructively.

The scale that does measure intensity at ground level is the Mercalli Scale - 6.8 on Richter may register as 10 on Mercalli, and vice versa. However it relies on witness accounts, something that cannot be reliably used, especially in stress situations.

The new Moment Scale is why Richter has been superseded. Although measuring only 7.2 on the Richter Scale, the Moment Scale put Port-au-Prince at the highest end of measurement, which is IX verging on X. Because the epicentre was so shallow, and so close to P-a-P, it behaved more like a 9.0 on the Richter, the ground moving at 32 feet a second, equivalent to freefall. The shaking was about 2.5x the intensity of a normal 7.2.

lofter1
January 16th, 2010, 06:17 PM
SUFFERING

THE NEW YORKER (http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2010/01/25/100125taco_talk_packer)
by George Packer
JANUARY 25, 2010

COMMENT

The night after the earthquake, Haitians who had lost their homes, or who feared that their houses might collapse, slept outdoors, in the streets and parks of Port-au-Prince. In Place Saint-Pierre, across the street from the Kinam Hotel, in the suburb of Pétionville, hundreds of people lay under the sky, and many of them sang hymns: “God, you are the one who gave me life. Why are we suffering?” In Jacmel, a coastal town south of the capital, where the destruction was also great, a woman who had already seen the body of one of her children removed from a building learned that her second child was dead, too, and wailed, “God! I can’t take this anymore!” A man named Lionel Gaedi went to the Port-au-Prince morgue in search of his brother, Josef, but was unable to find his body among the piles of corpses that had been left there. “I don’t see him—it’s a catastrophe,” Gaedi said. “God gives, God takes.” Chris Rolling, an American missionary and aid worker, tried to extricate a girl named Jacqueline from a collapsed school using nothing more than a hammer. He urged her to be calm and pray, and as night fell he promised that he would return with help. When he came back the next morning, Jacqueline was dead. “The bodies stopped bothering me after a while, but I think what I will always carry with me is the conversation I had with Jacqueline before I left her,” Rolling wrote afterward on his blog. “How could I leave someone who was dying, trapped in a building! . . . She seemed so brave when I left! I told her I was going to get help, but I didn’t tell her I would be gone until morning. I think this is going to trouble me for a long time.” Dozens of readers wrote to comfort Rolling with the view that his story was evidence of divine wisdom and mercy.

The earthquake seemed to follow a malignant design. It struck the metropolitan area where almost a third of Haiti’s nine million people live. It flattened the headquarters of the United Nations mission, which would have taken the lead in coördinating relief, and killed dozens of U.N. employees, including, reportedly, the mission chief, Hédi Annabi. In a country without a building code, it wiped out whole neighborhoods of shoddy concrete structures, took down hospitals, wrecked the port, put the airport’s control tower out of action, damaged key institutions from the Presidential Palace to the National Cathedral, killed the archbishop and senior politicians, cut off power and phone service, and blocked passage through the streets. There was almost no heavy equipment in the capital that could be used to move debris off trapped survivors, or even to dig mass graves. “Everything is going wrong,” Guy LaRoche, a hospital manager, said.

Haitian history is a chronicle of suffering so Job-like that it inevitably inspires arguments with God, and about God. Slavery, revolt, oppression, color caste, despoliation, American occupation alternating with American neglect, extreme poverty, political violence, coups, gangs, hurricanes, floods—and now an earthquake that exploits all the weaknesses created by this legacy to kill tens of thousands of people. “If God exists, he’s really got it in for Haiti,” Pooja Bhatia, a journalist who lives in Haiti, wrote in the Times. “Haitians think so, too. Zed, a housekeeper in my apartment complex, said God was angry at sinners around the world, but especially in Haiti. Zed said the quake had fortified her faith, and that she understood it as divine retribution.”

This was also Pat Robertson’s view. The conservative televangelist appeared on “The 700 Club” and blamed Haitians for a pact they supposedly signed with the Devil two hundred years ago (“true story”), advising people in one of the most intensely religious countries on earth to turn to God. (Similarly, he had laid the blame for the September 11th attacks and Hurricane Katrina on Americans’ wickedness.) In Robertsonian theodicy—the justification of the ways of God in the face of evil—there’s no such thing as undeserved suffering: people struck by disaster always had it coming.

At the White House, President Obama, too, was thinking about divine motivation, and he asked the same question implied in the hymn sung by Haitian survivors under the night sky: “After suffering so much for so long, to face this new horror must cause some to look up and ask, Have we somehow been forsaken?” But Obama’s answer was the opposite of Zed’s and Robertson’s: rather than claiming to know the mind of God, he vowed that America would not forsake Haiti, because its tragedy reminds us of “our common humanity.”

Choosing the humanistic approach to other people’s misery brings certain obligations. The first is humanitarian: the generous response of ordinary Americans, along with the quick dispatch of troops and supplies by the U.S. government, met this responsibility, though it couldn’t answer the overwhelming needs of people in Haiti. But beyond rescue and relief lies the harder task of figuring out what the United States and other countries can and ought to do for Haiti over the long term, and what Haiti is capable of doing for itself. Before the earthquake, Hédi Annabi declared that the U.N. had stabilized Haiti to the point where its future was beginning to look a little less bleak. Bill Clinton, the U.N. special envoy to Haiti, has sounded even more optimistic about investment and growth, and after the earthquake he pointed to Haiti’s new national economic plan as a sound basis for rebuilding.

Yet Haitian political culture has a long history of insularity, corruption, and violence, which partly explains why Port-au-Prince lies in ruins. If, after an earthquake that devastated rich and poor neighborhoods alike, Haiti’s political and business élites resurrect the old way of fratricidal self-seeking, they will find nothing but debris for spoils. Disasters on this scale reveal something about the character of the societies in which they occur. The aftermath of the 2008 cyclone in Burma not only betrayed the callous indifference of the ruling junta but demonstrated the vibrancy of civil society there. Haiti’s earthquake shows that, whatever the communal spirit of its people at the moment of crisis, the government was not functioning, unable even to bury the dead, much less rescue the living. This vacuum, which had been temporarily filled by the U.N., now poses the threat of chaos.

But if Haiti is to change, the involvement of outside countries must also change. Rather than administering aid almost entirely through the slow drip of private organizations, international agencies and foreign powers should put their money and their effort into the more ambitious project of building a functional Haitian state. It would be the work of years, and billions of dollars. If this isn’t a burden that nations want to take on, so be it. But to patch up a dying country and call it a rescue would leave Haiti forsaken indeed, and not by God. ♦

© 2010 Condé Nast Digital

Merry
January 17th, 2010, 10:00 PM
^ Well said. Causes need to be dealt with, not just symptoms and consequences. Same old, same old :rolleyes:.


\/ What? :eek: Stop with the self-congratulatory, self-centred crap for once. And what is Cohen's agenda? While the pols are patting each other on the back, people are suffering in Haiti. There's a lot of "extreme poverty" in the US too, or haven't they noticed?


We Have Reason to Be Proud of the American Response in Haiti

Steven Cohen

President Obama is providing the leadership we need and hoped for in the face of the horror of the Haitian earthquake. The clearest evidence of American unity behind the effort to respond to the tragedy in Haiti took place at the White House on Saturday, January 16 as our last three presidents, Obama, Bush and Clinton, joined forces to announce the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund. The simple humanitarian impulse that led these national leaders to set aside partisanship represents this country at its very best.

While it will not be as fast as it needs to be, an impressive, massive response to the Haitian earthquake is well underway, led by the Obama Administration with contributions from other governments, nongovernmental organizations, corporations and individuals throughout the world. The President's heartfelt commitment to the Haitian people is being backed up by troops, food, medical care and, most importantly, leadership. As he promised, we are not "forsaking or forgetting" the Haitian people. Some may argue that the sheer scope and intensity of this horrible tragedy leaves the Administration no option, but when it comes to public policy we all know that even in the face of the unimaginable, the idiotic is always possible.

Here in New York City, and all over America, emergency responders have been trying to make their way to Haiti all week. Lots of private money has been donated and ships ranging from a floating hospital to an aircraft carrier have either already landed or are on the way now. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and USAID administrator Dr. Raj Shah traveled to Haiti on January 16, and I hope that in the near future President Obama will visit Port-au-Prince himself.

With the exception of the craziest fringes of right wing media, most Americans are united in their compassion for the victims of this horrific disaster and support for efforts to help out. This provides the President with what might be called a "teachable moment." President Obama has an opportunity to demonstrate American compassion, commitment and competence to the rest of the world, while perhaps increasing America's own understanding of the human tragedy of extreme poverty.

Over the past several days the images and stories from Haiti have been burned into our collective consciousness, and we must now digest the sheer horror and the extent of the collapse before us. An earthquake of this magnitude in a wealthy developed nation would not have nearly the devastating impact we are seeing in Haiti. David Brooks made this point in his New York Times column (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/15/opinion/15brooks.html?em) on January 15 in a comparison of the 63 deaths during the 1989 Bay Area earthquake and the many thousands of deaths in Haiti.

While Brooks does have a point, I think it is also important to understand that even wealthy cities are not immune to natural or human-made disasters. It is true that wealthy nations are more able than poor ones to respond to disasters and rebuild in their aftermath. However, those of us who were here in New York City on September 11, 2001 got a taste of how vulnerable we all are to disaster. Wealth is a necessary but not sufficient condition for resilience in the face of disaster.

The world today is a more crowded and interconnected place than ever before. With most of us now urban dwellers, disasters that might have only grazed human population centers now hit them dead on. And disease and disaster that strike one part of the world inevitably have an impact in other parts of the world as well. We can run, but we cannot hide. I know that I am not the only one who looks at the city's skyline whenever I leave New York and pray that it will be there when I return.

If we are to survive, human beings must help each other in times of great distress. President Obama is doing a wonderful job of leading and coordinating our response, but we need to invest in worldwide resources to reduce the impact of disasters.

When the Trade Center was attacked, we may have only closed the streets south of 14th, but the whole city shuddered. New York City is fortunate to be protected by the "finest" (NYPD) and the "bravest" (FDNY). They are so good at what they do that we all know them by their acronyms, and this is a model that is well worth imitating. While right now we must devote all of our energy and resources to the disaster at hand, when that work is completed, it is essential to upgrade the informal network of disaster relief institutions now in place.

There is a great deal of work to be done in responding to the crisis in Haiti and in saving lives still very much in peril. We should be proud of the selflessness and sacrifice of all of those on the front lines of response in Haiti and of our last three presidents for their important decision to lead by example.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-cohen/we-have-reason-to-be-prou_b_426418.html#comments

MidtownGuy
January 18th, 2010, 04:55 PM
Countries in contrast: One land, two fates

Why has the Dominican Republic thrived while Haiti has floundered?

Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/story.html?id=2454507#ixzz0d0HG24g3

Of all the ways to describe televangelist Pat Robertson's wickedly callous superstition that Haiti's earthquake is payback for an 18th-century "pact with the devil" to overthrow Napoleon's army in the world's first slave revolution, one of the most charitable is that it is not the whole story.
Haiti does seem impossibly blighted by man and nature. But unlike other humanitarian disaster zones in, say, sub-Saharan Africa, where all countries share the same problems, Haiti's despair seems unique, and more striking because it shares a small island with the Dominican Republic, one of the more stable, wealthy and tourist-friendly countries in the Caribbean.
"The question that all visitors to Haiti ask themselves is whether there is any hope for the country, and the usual answer is 'no,'" the Pulitzer Prize-winning geographer Jared Diamond wrote. For the sympathetic outsider today, disinclined to pin the blame on Satan and change the channel, there are more questions, and answers, that involve everything from the African slave trade to New World colonialism, from sugar farming to professional baseball...


Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/story.html?id=2454507#ixzz0d0HPCGLg
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Daquan13
January 22nd, 2010, 01:12 PM
Miraculously, people are still being found alive.

A little boy, 5, was found dehydrated but still alive and alert. He was checked out, treated and released and is expected to survive. :)

But both of his parents are thought to be dead. :(

dtolman
January 22nd, 2010, 01:37 PM
You might want to move the smiley. The juxtaposition with ... both parents dead... is not giving me warm and fuzzies.

ZippyTheChimp
January 22nd, 2010, 02:06 PM
Is there a grammatical term for a misplaced smiley? You know, like dangling emoticon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dangling_participle).

dtolman
January 22nd, 2010, 02:37 PM
Is there a grammatical term for a misplaced smiley? You know, like dangling emoticon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dangling_participle).

Seeing how this page is somehow the first hit in google when you search for grammatical term for misplaced smiley (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&hs=D94&q=grammatical+term+for+misplaced+smiley&aq=f&aql=&aqi=&oq=) - I say we have a chance here to make some history.

Dangling emoticon. I like it - but I'm sure we can come up with something snazzier.

Ninjahedge
January 22nd, 2010, 03:27 PM
Dysfunctional emoticon appelation?

Or, as the case may be, Diss-functional?

ZippyTheChimp
January 23rd, 2010, 03:03 PM
:(:)

Daquan13
January 24th, 2010, 04:21 PM
I moved it appropriately and put the Frown Smiley there.

ablarc
January 29th, 2010, 06:24 PM
I moved it appropriately and put the Frown Smiley there.
The Frowney?

Daquan13
January 30th, 2010, 08:30 AM
A little boy, 8, knew about the disaster in Haiti and decided to try to help them, so he had donated his bank savings of $300 to help the quake victims in Haiti. Through his town's mayor he sent a letter to president Obama, asking him to see to it that the money gets there to Haiti.

Obama then publicly announced the boy's donation on national TV and awarded the boy as a hero.

I think that was a very nice thing he did when he gave up his money to help! :)