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Haiti earthquake survivors spend night in streets

Bodies of victims started swelling in the heat as thousands of survivors spent the second night in the streets of Haiti’s capital which was devastated by a high-intensity earthquake.

“Some bodies are starting to swell in the heat,” Radio Metropole reported on its website, adding that “the majority of service stations are out of fuel”.

Haitians have taken to sleeping in the streets since the temblor struck Tuesday. Some residents wander amid rotting corpses, while the injured wait for assistance and those trapped in the rubble cry for help.

Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said that the magnitude-7.0 earthquake may have killed more than 100,000 people.

“The magnitude of the tragedy has surpassed authorities’ capacity of this impoverished nation,” he was quoted as saying by Prensa Latina.

The epicentre of the temblor was about 15 km southwest of the Haitian capital.

The tremor was followed by three aftershocks, including a magnitude-5.9 quake, that knocked out telecommunication services in Port-au-Prince.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs said that the city airport is functioning and can receive aid flights, but pilots will have to land “by sight” because the tower is not operating.

President Rene Preval and his wife, Elizabeth, were contemplating moving to the neighbouring Dominican Republic because of the partial collapse of the Presidential Palace and his residence, Santiago Metropolitan Hospital director Rafael Sanchez said.

–IANS/EFE

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