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Haiti Day by Day

Posted by Lindy on January 21, 2010

This was mostly taken from

where you can also find links to videos and a full set of maps and diagrams

especially on


The quake – Haiti’s worst in two centuries – struck at 16:53 The US Geological Survey said its epicentre was 15km (10 miles) south-west of Port-au-Prince, and that it was quickly followed by two strong aftershocks of 5.9 and 5.5 magnitude.

Reports included:

UN buildings sustained serious damage and “a large number” of personnel were missing.

“  ….Thousands of people sitting in the streets with nowhere to go. There are people running, crying, screaming.”

A pick-up truck to ferry the injured to hospital.

Houses had tumbled into a ravine.

The sky as “just grey with dust”.


As dawn broke, the extent of the damage and the number of casualties started to become clearer.

The Red Cross said up to three million people had been affected.

Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive believed more than 100,000 people had died .

The cost of the damage could run into billions of dollars.

Haitian President Rene Preval described the scene in the capital as “unimaginable”.

“Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed,”

President Barack Obama vowed “unwavering support” for Haiti after what he called a “cruel and incomprehensible” disaster.

People in the capital were lifting sheets on bodies to try to identify loved ones.


Thousands spent a second night in the open after the earthquake, as the search for survivors under the rubble went on after darkness.

The first US aid planes landed at the airport serving the capital and US naval ships were on the way.

EU states, Russia and China were among those sending rescue and medical teams by plane while pledges of aid were made by countries around Latin America.

The BBC in Port-au-Prince said the situation in the capital was increasingly desperate with no sense of a co-ordinated rescue effort, scant medical supplies and aid only trickling in.

Efforts to rescue survivors trapped in rubble were hampered by the lack of heavy-lifting equipment and much of the work was being done by individuals with simple tools or their hands.

Haitian President Rene Preval spoke of how he stepped over dead bodies and heard cries of those trapped in the parliament building.


Many spent another day without food and shelter in the ruined capital.

The BBC’s Andy Gallacher said survivors were dying in huge numbers, and clean water, food and medical supplies were desperately needed.

A Time magazine photographersaid he had seen a roadblock formed with bodies of quake victims on a main road which he believed was an “act of anger” on the part of people who were not getting help.

Bottlenecks and infrastructure damage were said to be holding up aid efforts – with estimates of the number of dead put at as many as 45,000-50,000.

Dramatic stories of survival began to emerge. Two-year-old Haitian girl Mia from the rubble where she had been trapped for three days.  Tarmo Joveer, was only found after “scratching sounds” were heard and was kept alive by being “given water through a rubber pipe”.


Desperation among survivors of the earthquake led to rising fears over security in Port-au-Prince.

Gangs  were preying on residents and looting  Thousands of prisoners were unaccounted for after the main prison was destroyed.

Damage to the seaport, roads and other infrastructure still prevented the speedy distribution of food, water and medical supplies. Relief was arriving, but little had moved beyond the jammed airport.

The Interior Minister said 50,000 bodies had been collected, but the total number of dead could be “between 100,000 and 200,000”.

The UN launched an appeal for $562m (£346m) intended to help three million people for six months.


First reports from the epicentre of Tuesday’s earthquake suggested the damage was even more dramatic than in the capital. The scene in Leogane was “apocalyptic”, with thousands left homeless and almost every building destroyed.

In the capital, survivors were becoming desperate as they waited for aid being handed out by international agencies.

But in a sign of hope, rescuers pulled a woman alive from the rubble.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton , the first senior overseas politician to arrive in Haiti, said the US would be “here today, tomorrow and for the time ahead”, asserting that “Haiti can come back even better and stronger in the future”.


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recommended that UN troop numbers in Haiti should be boosted by 2,000 for six months, and UN police numbers by 1,500.

Bill Clinton: “There’s no question it’s not enough, not quick enough”

Meanwhile, almost a week after the earthquake violence and looting have broken out in parts of Port-au-Prince. Police fired shots to disperse looters in parts of the capital.

UN police fired baton rounds to force a crowd back from the gates of the airport.

Thousands of people were fleeing the capital  with many leaving for the countryside in the hope of finding food and water.


US Black Hawk helicopters dropped scores of troops into the grounds of the ruined presidential palace.

The UN Security Council voted to send a further 3,500 UN troops and police to Haiti, to maintain law and order.  There were concerns that looting and violence were a growing threat.

Meanwhile, doctors said they were having to carry out hundreds of amputations, with only basic medical equipment, because of the large numbers of people suffering gangrene or traumatic injuries.

Medecins Sans Frontieres told the BBC their plane carrying 12 tonnes of medical aid was repeatedly denied permission to land at Port-au-Prince’s congested airport.

Search and rescue teams found an apparently unharmed elderly woman who was pulled from the rubble of the capital’s Catholic cathedral..

While some markets on the road to Port-au-Prince were still open, their supplies were running low and becoming increasingly expensive.


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