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Strong earthquake hits Haiti

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - 6:02pm

HAITI — A strong earthquake hit the impoverished country of Haiti on Tuesday afternoon, where a hospital collapsed and people were screaming for help. Other buildings also were damaged.

The earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 and was centered about 14 miles west from the capital of Port-au-Prince, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

An Associated Press videographer saw the wrecked hospital in nearby Petionville, and a U.S. government official reported seeing houses that had tumbled into a ravine.

No further details on any casualties or other damage were immediately available.

"Everybody is just totally, totally freaked out and shaken," said Henry Bahn, a visiting official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "The sky is just gray with dust."

Mr. Bahn said he was walking to his hotel room when the ground began to shake.

"I just held on and bounced across the wall," he said. "I just hear a tremendous amount of noise and shouting and screaming in the distance."

Mr. Bahn said there were rocks strewn all over the place and he saw a ravine where several homes had been built. "It's just full of collapsed walls and rubble and barbed wire," he said.

Since this article was written, 2 aftershocks of 5.9 and 5.5 on hit Haiti.