Approximately 200,000 people were killed, 250,000 were injured and 1.5 million were made homeless in the earthquake that devastated Haiti one week ago, according to new estimates from the European Commission. As the last of the survivors are pulled from the rubble, U.N. peacekeeping forces are fanning out in the capital of Port-au-Prince in an attempt to control the desperate masses. Though looting has been reported, some observers wonder whether stealing food after a disaster of this magnitude should really be characterized as looting. But U.N. troops don't seem to be giving that question much thought—yesterday Jordanian, Pakistani and Indian forces, who were unable to speak Creole, English or French, were caught on camera swinging night sticks at Haitians and firing rubber bullets into crowds. (Video below.)
For the rescue volunteers comprising New York Task Force 1, the devastation is bringing back painful memories of the post-9/11 clean-up. "I can’t forget the smell of death from New York," a 21-year veteran of the FDNY tells the Times. “And I can smell it right now. Sniff in the air. That’s it. Once it’s in your head it doesn’t come out. At least in 9/11, you had a place to go to get away from the hole... This is like 9/11 on the whole island of Manhattan. There’s nothing left. How are they going to come back after this? This place needs to be leveled. None of this is saveable."
And James Cole, an NYPD detective working with the Haiti task force, says, "After Sept. 11, the way the world reached out to us, we have an obligation now. Even if Haiti didn’t send anything monetarily in 2001, I’m sure they sent their prayers to us and it’s our turn now." Survivors were still being rescued from the rubble yesterday, and the U.N. said it expected to boost operations to feeding 97,000 on Monday. However, it needs 100 million prepared meals over the next 30 days, the AP reports. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, visiting one hospital yesterday, said he saw the staff using vodka to sterilize equipment, and remarked, "It's astonishing what the Haitians have been able to accomplish."
A missionary with the Manhattan-based United Methodist Church's General Board of Global Ministries died Sunday after being rescued from the rubble of a hotel in Haiti, where he was trapped with two other men for three days. Rev. Clinton Rabb, a missionary who worked in third-world countries, was "trapped in a 3-foot by 5-foot by 8-foot space." He was alive when he was rescued, but later died in a Florida hospital, according to the AP. One of his companions died in the quake, and another survived, but had his legs amputated. The Daily News has a happier story of a Bronx brother and sister who flew to the Caribbean island to find their elderly father alive and well on the ruined streets of Haiti.
Below, CBS video of the UN peace keepers clearing the streets filled with Haitian men seeking jobs.
And here's Anderson Cooper intervening to help a Haitian boy bleeding from the head during street violence: