Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti earthquake: Some early photos and video

Via Aporrea, two YouTubes. Some photos:

And some video:

Aporrea is also reporting that the UN chief-of-mission in Haiti, Hedi Annabi, has been killed in the 7.3 magnitude quake. The UN building (and that of MINUSTAH) has been destroyed, along with at least one hospital and a prison building (from which several inmates are reported to have escaped.)

Natural disasters hit Haiti harder than anyplace else on Earth because of its poverty; El Duderino reminds us of why Haiti is so poor in the first place, and why it is also so vulnerable to coups planned from just a few hundred miles offshore. (Coups which, incidentally, have disgraced my own home and native land, and shame me as a Canadian.)

In a way, the destruction of the MINUSTAH headquarters seems like poetic justice, since MINUSTAH was originally there to prop up a government that the people of Haiti did not elect, and overstayed its welcome considerably--and under protest. Its real mission is unclear, but its apparent mission is to make sure that the original elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, doesn't get back into office in any way, shape or form. Its stated mission was to distribute aid and fight crime, but it seems to have been complicit in its share of crime and has been less than effective in distributing aid--except to foreign NGOs, of which there is certainly no shortage in Haiti, whatever else is lacking.

And there is a lot more lacking in that little country now.

Meanwhile, Venezuela's response was quick and to the point: They sent doctors and are gathering non-perishable food, clothing, medicines, etc. Solidarity in action, rather than endless preachy words. No wonder the Haitians gave Chavecito a hero's welcome last time he showed up in person. They will again, I'll bet, when they're back on solid ground.

Seguid el ejemplo qué Caracas dió...

UPDATES: Some other Canadian content on this story. A Progressive Bloggers member is worried about her parents, who are currently in Haiti and unaccounted for. Another Canadian citizen in the country texted for help, and got it. Meanwhile, a Canadian nurse is confirmed to be among the dead.