Yesterday a category 7.0 earthquake, the most disastrous in Haiti's history, hit the country at 4:53 p.m. and was centered about 10 miles west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The director of the Salvation Army's Disaster Services in Haiti gave this eyewitness account:
Words cannot begin to describe the devastation that has taken place in Port au Prince, Haiti.
I am the Director of Disaster Services for The Salvation Army in Haiti, and I am from the United States. My wife and I have been in PAP since April, and have fallen deeply in love with the country and its people.
When the earthquake struck, I was driving down the mountain from Petionville. Our truck was being tossed to and fro like a toy, and when it stopped, I looked out the windows to see buildings â??pancakingâ? down, like I have never witnessed before.
Traffic, of course, came to a stand-still, while thousands of people poured out into the streets, crying, carrying bloody bodies, looking for anyone who could help them. We piled as many bodies into the back of our truck, and took them down the hill with us, hoping to find medical attention. All of them were older, scared, bleeding, and terrified. It took about 2 hours to go less than 1 mile. Traffic was horrible, devastation was everywhere, and suffering humanity was front and center.
When we could drive no further, we left the truck parked on the side of the street, and walked the remaining 2 miles to get back to the Army compound. What I found was very sad! All of the security walls were down. The Childrenâ??s Home itself seems pretty intact, but our quarters, which is attached, are destroyed. Unliveable. The walls and ceiling are still standing â?? but so badly compromised that I wouldnâ??t even think of trying to stay there. All of the children, and hundreds of neighbors, are sleeping in our playground area tonight. Occasionally, there is another tremor â?? another reminder that we are not yet finished with this calamity. And when it comes, all of the people cry out and the children are terrified.
As I am sitting outside now, with most people trying to get a little sleep, I can hear the moans and crys of the neighbors. One of our staff went to a home in the neighborhood, to try to be of assistance to the woman who lived there. But she was too late.
The scene will be repeated over and over again. Tomorrow, we will begin the process of assessing damage, learning about casualties, and preparing for the future.
God bless Haiti.
Divisional Director of Disaster Services in Haiti
The Salvation Army
This afternoon Le Monde reports (link in French) there are over 100,000 dead, in a country with a population of some 10 million people, and there are roughly 3 million people in need of aid.
The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army are already doing relief work in the country. You can donate here:
The Salvation Army is accepting monetary donations to assist in the effort via:American Red Cross:
â?¢ Their paypal account.
â?¢ postal mail at:
The Salvation Army World Service Office
International Disaster Relief Fund
PO Box 630728
Baltimore, MD 21263-0728
(*designate checks and money orders to â??Haiti Earthquakeâ??)
12:30am (1/13/2010) You can text â??HAITIâ? to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross relief for Haiti.
or through their International Response Fund.
Haiti is the poorest country in our hemisphere. They do not have the resources to bury 100,000 dead.