Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said “well over” 100,000 people may have died in yesterday’s earthquake, as the United Nations and relief groups rushed aid to the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country.
In an interview with CNN, the prime minister said: “I believe that we are well over 100,000. I hope that is not true because I hope people had the time to get out. We have so many people in the street and we don’t know exactly where they were living. But there are so many buildings, so many neighborhoods totally destroyed and in some neighborhoods we don’t even see people so I don’t know where those people are.”
René Préval, the president of Haiti, tells the Miami Herald he had been stepping over dead bodies and hearing the cries of those trapped under the rubble of the national Parliament.
"Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed. There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them," he added.
At about 4:53 p.m. local time yesterday, the powerful earthquake struck that small island nation, the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
The Associated Press said bodies are heaped along streets amid the rubble from thousands of collapsed structures. The corpses of small children were piled outside schools as flies began to gather, the AP said.
For Americans trying to locate family members in Haiti, telephone the State Department at 888-407-4747. The White House has created a Web site with ways to help and donate.
Update: Haitian Senator Youri Latortue told the Associated Press that deaths from the quake could reach 500,000 – about five percent of the country's population of more than nine million.
Raw videos from the scene of the quake:
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