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Haiti: School Collapses

The fact that Haiti didn't need another tragedy didn't stop one from striking. This time, it was a school collapse in Pétionville, which left scores of children dead and countless others injured. Haitian bloggers were quick to offer online empathy and support.

Haiti Innovation said:

Some emergencies can be predicted. Every hurricane season, we can anticipate that Haiti will likely be hit with tropical storms. Others such as the collapse of a school in Petionville yesterday are unexpected tragedies. The community was, as is usually the case, the first to respond. They tried to remove as much of the rubble as possible but were hampered by a lack of heavy equipment.

Livesay Haiti Weblog confirmed that children were trapped in the rubble and urged people to “please pray for all involved”, as did Pwoje Espwa, who noted that rescue efforts were being hampered “by the area shanty towns surrounding the school and a steep ravine and the lack of any organized rescue infrastructure in country.”

Pwoje Espwa went on to write another post, this one dedicated to the memory of Mariella Delisca, one of the victims:

She was nineteen and a good friend of Nick Kocmich (Nico) who worked with us a couple of years ago. Nick is now in Port-au-Prince in charge of the Norwich House, a ministry of the Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut. Mariella was part of the Norwich family and will be sorely missed. Our prayers are for her family, her friends and for all those who have lost loved ones in that terrible accident that we now hear has taken 82 lives.

The Blesh Family, who lives down the hill from the school, admitted that the situation was “terrible”, while RHFH Rescue Center had a friend close by who “was able to go see what was happening”:

He said there was a class with 47 students and 45 were killed. He saw several dead bodies being taken out of the actual building. They were putting then into the back of pickup truck and driving them away like that. We have heard today on the radio that the death toll is around 80. There were at least 500 students in the school.

Meanwhile, The Haitian Blogger was saddened that the United Nations has been allocating money towards “stabilization” rather than infrastructure:

My birthplace is Petion-Ville, Haiti. It is a suburb of the capital of Haiti, Port-Au-Prince. At a school named “La Promesse” (the promise) in Petion-Ville a three story school building collapsed yesterday at mid-morning. The whole building crumbled. The concrete fell on the approximately 500-700 children from kindergarten to high school attending the school on Friday.

At least 50 are dead. At this time Haitians are digging with their bare hands and working through the night to pull out the hundreds that remain trapped under the rubble.

When the UN occupied Haiti, the Haitian president Rene Preval asked for more tractors and bulldozers for building Haiti's infrastructure, not more tanks and guns. There are now 9,000 UN troops in Haiti. The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti's (MINUSTAH) approved budget (1 July 2008 – 30 June 2009): is $601.58 million (See Haiti MINUSTAH Facts and Figures)

That's $50.13 million per month, $1.64 million PER DAY.

Yesterday, if Haiti had more bulldozers, more children would have been rescued.

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