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Massive Earthquake Hits Haiti

January 13, 2010 By Andrew OReilly

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the island nation of Haiti yesterday leaving large portions of country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, in ruins and thousands suspected to be dead, according to the New York Times.

The earthquake, the largest in the region in over 200 years, hit Haiti shortly after 5 p.m. on Tuesday and severely damaged many buildings in the country, including the presidential palace.

While no clear number of casualties is available yet due to the scope of the devastation, officials say the death toll could reach into the thousands, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The United Nations reported that five of its workers were killed and over 100 went missing, including the group’s head, Hédi Annabi, after the earthquake destroyed the UN mission’s headquarters in Haiti. The Catholic archbishop of Haiti, Joseph Serge Miot, was also one of the victims of the earthquake.

Throughout the night over 30 aftershocks of 4.5 magnitude or higher hit Haiti and set off tsunami warnings in nearby Cuba. By morning, Haitian President René Préval suspected that over 100,000 people perished due to the earthquake, The BBC reports.

United States President Barack Obama said that the U.S. aid agencies had begun to send help and search-and-rescue teams to Haiti.

“This is a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share,” Obama said in the White House diplomatic reception room, according to the New York Times.

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