Magnitude 6.0 Aftershock Hits Haiti

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The collapsed presidential palace has become a symbol of the leadership vacuum in Haiti.
Photo: Getty Images

The most violent quake to hit Haiti since last week's original 7.0 magnitude disaster rippled across the island early this morning, sending a still-shocked population screaming into the streets outside of Port-au-Prince. The center of the quake was 35 miles outside of the city. "We are like a country whose capital has been hit by two atomic bombs," Patrick Elie, a presidential adviser, told the Times, defending the seeming absence of President René Préval and his government amid all of the chaos. "We are obviously in a moment of disarray, if not pain, and we have to regroup," Elie continued. "But let no one point a finger and say, 'Where is the state?' People who say that don’t understand the extent of the damage."

Meanwhile, American military helicopters have been landing in Port-au-Prince, a sign of increased U.S. control in the leadership vacuum of the situation on the ground. Normally, the arrival of American troops in great numbers would be viewed with mistrust and skepticism in Haiti, a country with a long history of unpleasant experience with foreign occupation, particularly from the United States. But according to the Times, those concerns have been largely brushed aside by the desperate needs of the population, which have not been even remotely fulfilled by their own government. President Préval, meanwhile, is struggling to play a leadership role in organizing foreign aid. He has yet to address his devastated nation since the original earthquake, but his aides say he will do so "soon."

Strong Aftershock Hits Near Haitian Capital [NYT]