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Archive for Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fears of another quake make residents uneasy

February 16, 2010

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— Hundreds of houses that survived Haiti’s killer quake still stand empty even as quake victims desperate for shelter crowd the streets. The reason is fear: Nobody is quite sure they can withstand another quake.

At least 54 aftershocks have shuddered through Haiti’s shattered capital since a Jan. 12 quake killed more than 200,000 people. They have toppled weakened buildings faster than demolition crews can get to them, sending up new clouds of choking dust. On Monday, three children were killed when a school collapsed in the northern city of Cap-Haitien. It wasn’t clear what caused the collapse, which occurred after a late-night tremor and heavy rains.

Seismologists say more, damaging aftershocks are likely and there’s even a chance of another large quake following quickly after the initial catastrophe in the capital of 3 million people.

In 1751, a large quake hit the island that Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic. About a month later, another one destroyed Port-au-Prince.

A magnitude-7.4 quake that killed more than 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey in 1999 was followed three months later by another of magnitude-7.2 only 60 miles from the initial epicenter.

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