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Disaster Victims

March 1, 2010 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
Along Jasmin Street in this capital's middle-class Villa Olimpica neighborhood, residents were packing up their belongings in trucks Sunday, hauling out furniture, clothing and keepsakes from damaged and unlivable apartments. Deep cracks and crooked balconies marred the 1960s-era three-story residential buildings along the quiet street, testament to the damage from the massive earthquake that struck Chile early Saturday, stunning the nation. "It's a lot to deal with, but at least we're all safe," said Carolina Jimenez, 32, a mother of two who was forced to flee her apartment as the quake struck, collapsing a wall and sending furniture flying, slightly injuring her 11-year-old daughter.
January 25, 2010 | By Scott Kraft
The ritual began just as the soft winter sun ducked behind the mountains Sunday, casting haunting shadows on this jittery Caribbean capital. Blackened pots bubbled with suppers of rice and beans above glowing charcoal. Sheets, cardboard mats and mattresses were laid neatly on the streets; a lucky few pitched pup tents. Chunks of rubble blocked roads to protect alfresco sleepers from passing motorists. The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti nearly two weeks ago, and dozens of aftershocks, including a 5.9 temblor at dawn last week, has turned Port-au-Prince into a city deathly afraid of the indoors.
January 20, 2010 | By Scott Kraft
Gary Elize was gloomily looking for one last body Wednesday in the flattened apartment where his brother and sister-in-law had died: that of their 5-year-old child. He said he spotted the boy's leg in the rubble and put on a pair of surgical gloves, preparing to extract it. Then, the leg moved. Elize told of how he and several friends dug furiously on the steamy afternoon and unearthed Monley Elize -- dirt-caked, dehydrated, emaciated and scuffed up, but otherwise unhurt.
January 19, 2010 | By Tina Susman
Even by Haiti's post-earthquake standards, the little encampment on an expanse of grass next to the airport is a jarring sight. No more than 100 people strong, established beneath sheets lashed to branches driven into the ground and with a red SUV parked in its midst, it is a sign of the lengths people will go to in their search for a safe place to settle. It also sits less than half a mile from thousands of tons of medical supplies, food, water and other assistance that are pouring into Port-au-Prince's airport.
January 16, 2010 | By Tina Susman and Joe Mozingo and Julian E. Barnes
Reporting from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, and Washington -- The leading edge of a massive relief effort gained a toehold around the Haitian capital Friday, with the U.S. military taking control of the airport and helicopters ferrying supplies from an aircraft carrier positioned off the coast. But deep within the city's neighborhoods, residents fended for themselves -- evacuating those who could go, caring for those who couldn't and putting to rest those who would move no more. Hundreds of doctors and aid workers and tons of supplies arrived at the airport, now teeming with traffic.
November 24, 2009 | By Barbara Demick
An activist who was investigating the role shoddy school construction played in the deaths of more than 5,000 children in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake was given a three-year prison sentence Monday on charges of possessing state secrets. Huang Qi, 46, a veteran activist and blogger, is the most prominent of more than a dozen people who were arrested for demanding investigations into construction standards after the magnitude 7.9 temblor. Others included prominent artists, former teachers and parents who lost their only children in the earthquake.
October 11, 2009 | Associated Press
The U.S. military trucked in supplies and marshaled helicopters and Navy ships as the Philippines struggled with the aftermath of back-to-back storms that have left more than 600 dead. Filipino rescuers said they still hoped to find more survivors in the stricken north of the country, but Saturday they retrieved only bodies. With roads blocked and bridges washed away, the Philippine government's resources have been stretched thin. Officials have asked U.S. troops in the country for an annual military exercise to extend relief operations.
October 4, 2009 | Associated Press
Rescue workers dug for a second day Saturday through mud and debris, searching for about 30 people believed caught in a mudslide that has killed at least 21 in Sicily. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he feared that the death toll from Italy's worst mudslides in a decade could rise to 50. Berlusconi is expected to survey the area by helicopter today, his office said. Rivers of mud unleashed by heavy rains flooded parts of Messina, a city in eastern Sicily, on Friday, sweeping away cars and collapsing buildings.
August 27, 2009 | Associated Press
Taiwan said today that it has agreed to let the Dalai Lama visit the island to comfort survivors of a devastating typhoon, a decision that could anger mainland China. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou made the surprise announcement when he visited a school in Nantou County that was destroyed by mudslides triggered by Typhoon Morakot on Aug. 8-9. The storm claimed 670 lives. "The Dalai Lama could come to Taiwan to help rest the souls of the dead and also pray for the well-being of the survivors," Ma said.
May 20, 2009 | William E. Gibson
Federal officials on Tuesday announced a new national shelter system to help locate temporary housing for victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters. The shelter system is a key part of preparations for hurricane season, which begins June 1. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Craig Fugate, the new director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, called for the public to help prepare for storms, mostly by devising family evacuation plans.
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