Aftershock Provokes More Panic, Looting In Haiti After waiting for more than a week for relief deliveries that still haven't reached many in the capital, hundreds of desperate Haitians scoured stores in the main commercial district searching for food and items they could sell.
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Aftershock Provokes More Panic, Looting In Haiti

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Aftershock Provokes More Panic, Looting In Haiti

Aftershock Provokes More Panic, Looting In Haiti

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Madeleine Brand in California.


And I'm Melissa Block in Washington.

Port-au-Prince was jolted awake this morning by one of the most powerful aftershocks since last week's earthquake. It sent terrified people racing into the streets. Also, today's sporadic looting intensified. Desperate people scoured stores, searching for food and items they could sell after waiting more than a week for deliveries of relief.

NPR's Jason Beaubien has this story on the chaotic scene in Port-au-Prince.

(Soundbite of crowd)

JASON BEAUBIEN: A crowd of about 200 people swarms around the remains of a grocery store in downtown Port-au-Prince. Young men scramble up slabs of concrete, debris and razor wire to get to a hole in the store's ceiling. They scramble back down with boxes of Pringles, soap, Presidente beer. One man defends his loot from the mob on the street with a champagne bottle; another wields a stick studded with nails. A young girl of about 8 or 9 years old emerges with a bag overflowing with toothpaste, plastic dolls and other goods. The crowd rips it away from her, leaving her empty-handed and in tears

(Soundbite of crying)

BEAUBIEN: At one point, the Haitian police drive by, fire several warning shots into the air, and then the looting continues. David Martine(ph) was standing off to the side of the crowd, munching from a can of Mr. Crisp's tomato-flavored potato chips, which he'd just picked up inside. He says he came down here to hustle and try to get something to eat. Martine says it's complete chaos inside the collapsed supermarket.

Mr. DAVID MARTINE: (Foreign Language Spoken)

Unidentified Man #1: He say it's dangerous out there. People are stabbing, hitting people with sticks in there, you know what I'm saying? So he hurry up and get out, so he's done. He's not going back in there, he says.

BEAUBIEN: Scenes like this flared in various parts of the city's downtown commercial district today. This area was severely damaged by last week's quake. Many buildings have collapsed entirely, and almost all the ones still standing are cracked and crumbling. Around the corner from the supermarket, Jean Tiljean Guillet(ph) was holding a brand new pair of white sneakers that he had just liberated from a toppled shoe store.

Mr. JEAN TILJEAN GUILLET: (Foreign Language Spoken)

BEAUBIEN: You know, it's misery, it's hunger, he says. And nobody is giving us anything. Our houses are broken down. So people are just going in there to get what they can so they can eat. He says he will sell the tennis shoes to try to get food.

Unidentified Man #2: (Foreign Language Spoken)

Unidentified Man #3: (Foreign Language Spoken)

BEAUBIEN: Stanley Dura(ph) and his brother are passing out shotgun shells to the local security guards, right next to the historical iron market.

Unidentified Man #4: We've got to give them shells. They don't even got shells.

Unidentified Man #5: They don't even have bullets.

Unidentified Man #4: They don't even have bullets.

BEAUBIEN: Dura is standing in front of his cosmetic store, holding a Glock 9 pistol with the shoulder brace and a clip that holds 33 bullets. A bandolier across his chest is loaded with shotgun shells. He is unloading the contents of his store into a truck while he still can.

Mr. DURA: There's a lot of robberies. So we are trying to get our merchandise out. Thank God, the store is not crashed down so we can take our merchandise out.

BEAUBIEN: Dura says he expects this entire section of downtown Port-au-Prince will have to be bulldozed.

Mr. DURA: They're going to have to flatten everything down because it's not safe anymore. Everything is cracked. So they're going to have to flat down everything.

BEAUBIEN: He doesn't know when the commercial district will be demolished and cleared, but he says the rebuilding of the Haitian capital could take years. And for now, people are using chunks of the rubble to block off sections of roadways on which they can sleep.

Jason Beaubien, NPR News, Port-au-Prince.

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