30 killed as school building collapses in Haiti (Second Lead)

November 8th, 2008 - 1:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Port-au-Prince, Nov 8 (DPA) At least 30 students were killed and more 100 injured when a school building collapsed in the Petion Ville suburb of Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.The Evangelical Promise school in the area of Nerette collapsed at around 10 a.m. (15.00 GMT) Friday, with some 700 students inside, Haitian Radio Metropole reported. The three-storey school educated students from kindergarten to high school.

The number of dead could not yet be officially determined because many of the children and teachers were likely still trapped in the ruins, Mayor Clair Lydie Parent said.

The children were in their classrooms at the time of the collapse, Michaele Gedeon, president of Haiti’s Red Cross told CNN. “The whole school collapsed on the kids,” she said.

The cause of the collapse was not known.

The US Agency for International Development said late Friday that it had dispatched an immediate disaster response team that would be followed by a further 38 personnel, four search and rescue dogs and 14,000 kg of rescue equipment.

“We are having difficulty removing students from the rubble because we don’t have heavy duty search-and-rescue equipment,” said Alex Claudon, also of the Red Cross. He said the number of casualties could be very high.

Gedeon wasn’t at the site, but said she could hear rescuers calming down injured students as she coordinated emergency efforts over the phone.

“On the phone you can hear so many children crying…and saying, ‘This one is dead, that one is dead’,” Gedeon said.

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