New Haiti quake triggers panic

2010-01-21 10:58

A powerful aftershock rumbled across the ruins of Haiti on

Wednesday, sending thousands of traumatised quake survivors running through the

streets in terror, but eight days on miraculous tales of survival were still

emerging from the rubble.

Amid the mass graves, makeshift street clinics and a desperate hunt

for aid, rescuers have pulled a tiny infant, several children and other

survivors from ruins of the flattened Caribbean nation.

Thousands of US troops were pouring in as other nations pledged to

send in hundreds more to help distribute aid, provide medical treatment and try

to keep the streets secure as people scavenge to keep alive.

The biggest aftershock yet struck as dawn broke on Wednesday, eight

days after the Haitian capital was levelled by a massive 7.0-magnitude

earthquake that killed at least 75 000 people and left a million homeless.

“God wants to destroy all Haitians because they are bad, because

they are cursed,” Eleude Joseph, a shell-shocked mother of two, told AFP at a

squalid camp of 6 000 survivors in the Place Saint-Pierre.

There were no reports of anyone being killed or wounded by the 6.1

aftershock, but some severely damaged buildings came tumbling down, including

the last surviving wall of the main cathedral.

Despite the latest threat, rescuers kept up their grim search,

elated by finding survivors who had defied the odds, including a 23-day-old baby

girl, a five-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl.

The baby was found alive in the rubble of a house in Jacmel in

southern Haiti Tuesday after surviving for a week without food, French radio

reported.

The survival of the 11-year-old, dug from the wreck of her family’s

home by neighbours, “truly is a miracle,” said a doctor at a clinic run by

French charities, adding that she “came back to life bit by bit.”

The girl’s mother, a cleaning lady at the UN mission in

Port-Au-Prince, said one of her five children, a five-year-old boy, was killed

in the quake.

Out of her daughter’s earshot, she added: “I haven’t told her yet

that her favourite little brother died. She’s still very weak.”

Other survivors dug out included a woman (25) found in the ruins of

a supermarket, and a 70-year-old woman who sang as she left behind the wreckage

of the Port-au-Prince Roman Catholic cathedral.

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