Almost before the aftershocks had died down a major international rescue operation to help the people of Haiti had begun gathering momentum.
China mustered search and rescue teams. An official Chinese newspaper reported that eight of their peace keeping troops in Haiti were dead and ten were missing.
But the disaster has touched all nations. Salvano Briceno in charge of the UN’s Strategy for Disaster Reduction said: “We know the UN building is partially destroyed. Most of the UN staff are accounted for. We’re still waiting to hear for (sic) others, but there is already an operation going on to provide relief, both by the UN, but also in coordination with the major NGOs and governments that are offering assistance.”
At Brignol, French rescue teams were briefed minutes before their flight to the disaster zone.
They have packed specialist equipment to find victims buried under rubble – including heat seeking cameras, sensitive listening devices and sniffer dogs.
And in the United States members of the Los Angeles fire department and search teams from Fairfax County near Washington DC also got ready, waiting for confirmation that the runway at Port au Prince airport was safe enough to land.