Being a San Diego girl, (California breaking off in to the ocean blah, blah, blah) I know hairy earthquakes, but we expect them and have built accordingly. Our Caribbean friends have other natural concerns - like hurricanes to deal with. (Which still scare the daylights out of me.) Not-to-mention a 7.0 is still HUGE! They didn't see it coming.
Now the details are starting to surface. I had one mother call the newsroom this morning. Her son was able to escape and send this email back stateside. Thank goodness for this near miss.
Dear Family and Friends,
Thanks for all the kind words. I climbed out of my 4th story apt as it was collapsing and was happy my four other colleagues from State got out alright too. One guy from UN had some leg injuries but we carried him when we got out. Some Haitians and I were fortunate to pull out a woman and her daughter just as a slight
tremor hit a second time, but I am so glad they got out safely. All of us in our apt complex lost everything and got out with the clothes on our backs (a couple of us not even with that!)
We spent the night in the surprising cool Haitian night air and felt unnerving tremors and collapsing structures all night. The State Dpt military attache's house was pretty much intact so he gave us supplies and his front yard to sleep in (away from walls and other buildings.) The neighboring four story apt was flattened like a ham sandwich.
It has been so hard to see a people already suffering difficult conditions to now be hit by this kind of devastation. As we faded in and out of sleep and conversation under the dark and starry night sky we could hear people in the lower lamds wailing with each tremor, often singing prayerful songs, clapping or chanting. It was eerie, terrifying and beautiful at the same time. The roads we took to get us back to the Embassy were amazingly calm and many structures we standing but we heard that in other neighborhoods houses simply caved in.
I'm back at the Embassy now raiding the caf for something to eat and seeing all the wreckage (it got hit too
but the building is new and entirely intact.) My clothes and hair are full of dust and I look like, well, I've been in an earthquake.
But it has been amazing to see the spirit of the Haitian people in light of this disaster.
I will need to pitch in for the time being and there is talk of evacuation which I can't see how they could not (there is little safe housing and virtually no hotels.) I have been thinking so much about my family, loved ones and dear friends who mean and have meant so much to me. Thank you again for your thoughts.
Peace and know that I am thinking of you!