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Disaster Victims

March 21, 2010 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
When the first wave hit, Luis Gatica allowed himself a glimmer of hope: Maybe he, his wife and their 4-year-old daughter would survive. Clinging to a tree on a small island just offshore, they braced for the next surge of sea water bound to follow the magnitude 8.8 earthquake. The initial tsunami wave had reached only to his knees. "I thought for a moment that we were going to be spared, and we would have this story to tell when we were old," Gatica, a firefighter and paramedic, said days later in a barely audible monotone.
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.
February 21, 2010 | By Mike Clary
Fifth-grader Madjany Mouscardy was playing a "Hannah Montana" computer game when the walls of the second-floor office in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she sat began "shaking like a swing," she said. Moments later she had fallen into a hole and was buried in concrete. "I couldn't breathe. But I said to myself, 'Madjany, you are not going to die,' " recalled the lanky 11-year-old. "And then I started to lift the bricks off me until I could see blue sky." Sharing a classroom with Madjany at Silver Shores Elementary School, in Miramar, Fla., is Garvey Fils-Amie, who survived the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti because he was outside his house, doing homework with a tutor, when his world began to crumble.
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 23, 2010 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Scott Kraft and Mitchell Landsberg
The flow of supplies into Haiti by air and sea picked up Friday, and more shops reopened for business, but another sharp aftershock jangled nerves, giving an extra push to those considering leaving the shattered capital city. A man and an elderly woman were rescued a staggering 10 days after homes collapsed on them. An Israeli team pulled a 21-year-old man from what once was a three-story home, according to an Israel Defense Forces statement. And an 84-year-old woman was said by relatives to have been pulled from the wreckage of her house, according to doctors administering to her at the General Hospital, where she was in critical condition.
January 21, 2010 | By Tracy Wilkinson
Moustang Brisson is in charge as a founding member of the executive board of the Delmas 36 Committee, representing several blocks' worth of homeless, destitute earthquake survivors. Notebook in hand, he has taken down in careful cursive the names of 389 residents at 36 Delmas Street, all in need of food, water and tents. "If we waited for the Haitian government to help, nou grangou ," Brisson said Thursday, using a Creole expression meaning they'd starve to death. Across Port-au-Prince, block by block, Haitians are arranging themselves into subsets within the chaos around them.
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.
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