x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Magnitude 6.1 aftershock strikes Haiti

A magnitude 6.1 aftershock has jolted Haiti sending people into a panic but damage is minimal.

A strong aftershock struck Haiti today, creating panic among people camping out in the capital's streets after last week's devastating earthquake. The 6.1 aftershock rattled already shattered buildings but there was no immediate reports of damage from the tremor, which struck after daybreak. Fearing damage from aftershocks, thousands of people have been sleeping in streets in the capital Port-au-Prince since the Jan. 12 earthquake. The US Geological Survey said today's tremor was centered 42km west-northwest of Jacmel. Fears of violence and looting have eased in Haiti as US troops provided security for water and food aid deliveries, and thousands of displaced Haitians heeded the government's advice to seek shelter outside Port-au-Prince. Medical care, handling of corpses, shelter, water, food and sanitation remain the priorities for the international operations, U.N. relief officials said a week after the magnitude 7 quake. While military escorts still are needed to deliver relief supplies, the United Nations said security problems were mainly in areas considered "high risk" before the January 12 quake. About 4,000 criminals escaped from damaged prisons soon after the temblor hit. "The overall security situation in Port-au-Prince remains stable, with limited, localised violence and looting occurring," the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. US Black Hawk helicopters swooped down on the grounds of Haiti's wrecked presidential palace on Tuesday, deploying troops and supplies and immediately attracting crowds of survivors who clamored for handouts of food. About 12,000 U.S. military personnel are on the ground in Haiti, on ships offshore or en route, including the USNS Comfort hospital ship, which was to arrive in the area today, providing essential capacity for complex surgeries. At least one Latin American leader, Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez, a fiery critic of what he calls US "imperialism," already has accused Washington of "occupying" Haiti under the pretext of an aid operation. But the Haitian president Rene Preval has said US troops will help UN peacekeepers keep order. *Reuters