Monday, November 10, 2008

Rescuers, Finding No New Survivors, Will Raze Haiti School

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) — Rescuers at a collapsed school in Haiti were ending the hunt for survivors on Sunday and will soon demolish the remains of the building, where about 90 people were killed, officials said.

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Orlando Barría/European Pressphoto Agency
Haitians dug in the debris of a fallen school on Sunday after they pushed past security in anger at the rescue effort’s pace.
“Rescue workers and experts are making the last check to be certain there is nobody alive under the debris,” Nadia Lochard, a civil defense official, said Sunday. “We will recover all the bodies and destroy the building.”

Four survivors were pulled from the ruins of the three-story church school on Saturday, a day after it collapsed, injuring 150 people. No survivors had been found since, officials said.

Disaster experts, officials and rescue workers had held back from using heavy equipment at the site in Pétionville, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, out of fear that wobbly blocks of concrete and other debris might fall on any survivors under the rubble.

“We are trying the best we can to make sure no one alive is under the debris by the time we start using heavier equipment,” said Luc-Eucher Joseph, the secretary of state for public safety.

Firefighters from Fairfax, Va., and rescue workers from Martinique were among the searchers at the school, la Promesse. They were using dogs to hunt for survivors.

Fortin Augustin, a Protestant minister who owns the school and church, was being held by the police on Sunday.

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