Victims' Bodies Commonplace In Haitian Capital Haitians are trying to come to grips with the aftermath of Tuesday's 7.0 earthquake. The United Nations says the quake has affected as many as three million people. In devastated neighborhoods, bodies are laid out unceremoniously on the side of the road — sometimes they are wrapped in sheets.
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Victims' Bodies Commonplace In Haitian Capital

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Victims' Bodies Commonplace In Haitian Capital

Victims' Bodies Commonplace In Haitian Capital

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Deborah Amos, in for Renee Montagne.


People who wake up in Haiti this morning will spend another day living among the dead. That's the overwhelming fact of a country struck by an earthquake this week.

AMOS: We begin with NPR's Greg Allen.

GREG ALLEN: Narrow streets are lined with rubble, many are impassable. Walls, roofs, entire buildings have crumbled to the ground. In the Bel-Air neighborhood, a lot where a building once stood just a few days ago is now empty and being used as an impromptu bath house. People gather around a hose, filling buckets.


U: He's dead. He's dead. He's dead. He's dead.

ALLEN: Phillip Mercier(ph) had just finished bathing his young daughter.

AMOS: Everything (unintelligible) everything is in the street. Everything is broken down. Is like somebody who live in a street, you know, eat in a street, drink water in the street, there is no pure water.

ALLEN: Not far away, the interior ministry building may, if anything, be in even worst shape. What once was a multistoried building, is now just a mound of rubble. Outside a team of rescue workers from the Dominican Republic is surveying the scene. But Migelina Taktu(ph) said they realized there was nothing they could do.

AMOS: We can't do anything because is a difficult situation there and our people can be in danger.

ALLEN: Do you think there's people alive in here?

AMOS: Yes.

ALLEN: Two people were still inside, according to bystanders. Throughout Port- au-Prince, the backhoes and bulldozers needed to move tons of rubble have been slow to arrive. One problem is that many of Haiti's contractors and construction companies were also devastated by the earthquake. Outside the interior ministry, Gerald Emil Brune(ph) was shaking his head over the sheer magnitude of the tragedy and Haiti's clear inability to respond. He is an executive with Tasina(ph), an architecture and engineering company. He was at work when the earthquake hit. His arms are scabbed. Injuries he received when the building collapsed and he fell to three floors, miraculously surviving. Others with the company, he says, weren't so lucky.

AMOS: We are, you know, recovering about eight cadavers, so far, from our office building. Senior engineers and architects, a lot of them are gone. The way the construction industry goes in Haiti, will probably are responsible for about 3000 families. And now it's all down, it's all gone.

ALLEN: Time and again Haitians ask the same thing. Where is the international community? Where is the help they desperately need? International help was more evident at the airport, now controlled by the U.S. military, where aid groups steadily arrived and foreign nationals waited to be airlifted out. Ashley Augustine(ph) was preparing to fly back to the U.S. She's with a children's nutrition program that worked in the town of Leogane near the epicenter of the earthquake. After the quake, she says, she went to work in an emergency clinic.

AMOS: We are now out of any medicine or equipment out in Leogane. We know aid workers are coming in, but we're just hoping that doesn't get bogged down in Port-au-Prince. Port-au-Prince has a lot of need too but Cafu(ph) and Leogane, everyone's house fell down, all the schools, all the clinics and hospitals, and there weren't many to begin with and now they have fallen and out of equipment and medicine.

ALLEN: Greg Allen, NPR News, Port-au-Prince.

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