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AC360° Associate Producer
A major earthquake struck southern Haiti yesterday, knocking down buildings and inflicting a catastrophe on the impoverished Caribbean nation. The U.S. and global humanitarian agencies said they would to begin administering aid today amid fears that the poorest country in the western hemisphere was facing nothing short of a catastrophe.
The 7.0 quake struck near the capital, Port-au-Prince, shortly before 5 p.m. yesterday afternoon and brought down buildings, including the presidential palace, hotels a hospital and the UN headquarters in the capital. The powerful Haitian earthquake has destroyed most of the capital city of Port-au-Prince, Haitian authorities said this morning.
Anderson is on his way into Haiti as we speak on a United Nations helicopter. He will be filing dispatches and letting us know what he’s seeing as soon as he hits the ground. Gary Tuchman and Dr. Sanjay Gupta are also on their way to Haiti to report on the search, rescue and relief efforts under way across the country.
Rescue crews are desperately trying to find survivors and the death toll is expected to climb into the hundreds, but no official figure has been released so far. The U.S. and global humanitarian agencies, such as the International Red Cross, said they would begin administering aid today.
We’ll report live from Haiti tonight on what the situation is like on the ground. The Red Cross says there may be a high number of casualties due to people being caught under the rumble. It’s also are warning of the potential risk of the spread of infectious diseases – such as Typhoid, dysentery and measles - as the tremor wiped out infrastructure and sanitation systems.
According to reports, scientists had warned for years that Haiti was at risk for a major earthquake. Apparently, a fault zone on the south side of the island, Hispaniola – which Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic – posed a “major seismic hazard.” Could Haiti have been better prepared for this quake?
President Obama President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak about the earthquake this morning and the U.S. State Department has activated a “disaster response plan” for the nation.
We’ll have the latest information for you tonight at 10 p.m. ET.
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