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Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Many casualties expected after big quake in Haiti - Yahoo! News
"PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The largest earthquake ever recorded in the area shook Haiti on Tuesday, collapsing a hospital where people screamed for help. Other buildings also were damaged and scientists said they expected "substantial damage and casualties." With communications disrupted there were no reports of deaths or injuries soon after the quake, as powerful aftershocks shook the country. The earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 and was centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It had a depth of 5 miles (8 kilometers). It was the largest quake recorded in the area, said USGS analyst Dale Grant, and the last major one since a magnitude-6.7 temblor in 1984. An Associated Press videographer saw the wrecked hospital in Petionville, a hillside Port-au-Prince district that is home to many diplomats and wealthy Haitians. Elsewhere, a U.S. government official reported seeing houses that had tumbled into a ravine. Haiti's ambassador to the U.S., Raymond Joseph, said from his Washington office that he spoke to President Rene Preval's chief of staff, Fritz Longchamp, just after the quake hit. He said Longchamp told him that "buildings were crumbling right and left" near the national palace. He said he has not gotten through by phone to Haiti since. Don Blakeman, an analyst at the USGS in Golden, Colorado, said such a strong quake carried the potential for widespread damage."