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New 6.1 Quake Hits Haiti, People Flee Into Streets

PTI 20 Jan 2010, 19:48:08 PM IST

A powerful new earthquake struck Haiti on Wednesday shaking buildings and sending screaming people running into the streets only eight days after the country's capital was devastated by an apocalyptic quake.

 The magnitude-6.1 temblor was the largest aftershock yet to the Jan 12 quake. It was not immediately clear if it caused additional injuries or damage to weakened buildings.

Wails of terror rose from frightened survivors as the earth shuddered at 0603 am. The US Geologic Survey said the quake was centered about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of Port-au-Prince and was 13.7 miles (22 kilometers) below the surface.

Last week's magnitude-7 quake killed an estimated 200,000 people in Haiti, left 250,000 injured and made 1.5 million homeless, according to the European Union Commission.

A massive international aid effort has been struggling with logistical problems, and many Haitians are still desperate for food and water.

Still, search-and-rescue teams have emerged from the ruins with some improbable success stories, including the rescue of 69-year-old ardent Roman Catholic who said she prayed constantly during her week under the rubble.

Ena Zizi had been at a church meeting at the residence of Haiti's Roman Catholic archbishop when the Jan 12 quake struck, trapping her in debris.

Frantic earthquake survivors began fleeing their corpse-ridden country in tiny boats on Tuesday, fuelling fears thousands could perish in the seas around Haiti. 

Families dying of thirst and hunger eight days after the Caribbean disaster killed 200,000 - five of them feared to be Brits - scrambled aboard leaky tubs in a final desperate gamble. 

US troops rushed in vain to seal off the capital's wrecked port as the wretched armada set sail - destination America. 

One marine said as the starving defied huge cracks zig-zagging the jetties: "It's like a disaster movie". 

His comrades were battling to make the docks safe so aid ships can unload. But he said grimly: "Survivors stuck here can't wait. They are getting out however they can."  

Most of the pitiful boat people who disappeared over the horizon prayed to make the 150 miles to Guantanamo Bay. 

Others who scraped together meagre rations were aiming for Florida - 400 miles further. 

Rumours a car ferry anchored at sea was about to leave saw a flotilla of packed boats surround it.

As quake survivors clutching bags and babes in arms clambered aboard many were beaten back by the crew - who feared the sheer numbers would sink it. 

The Trois Rivieres ferry was going nowhere anyway. Its owners said: "We have no fuel."  

RexOther refugees boarded a giant freighter that did set sail - as Haiti's ambassador in Washington begged the boat people to turn back. 

Raymond Joseph warned: "If you think you will reach the US and all the doors will be wide open to you, that's not at all the case. 

"They will intercept you right on the water and send you back home." 

Yesterday's mass exodus also saw convoys of vehicles heading out of lawless Port-au-Prince - still gripped by famine amid a bungled UN relief effort.

Dentist Charlemagne Ulrick put his three kids on a truck. 

He was staying but said: "They have to go and save themselves." The city was gripped by a reign of terror after crimelords escaped from the quake-hit jail. 

Haitian police were outnumbered as brawling killers went on an orgy of looting - even torching the wrecked Justice Ministry to destroy criminal records. 

A cop warned over a Tannoy: "If you don't kill the criminals, they will come back." 

At least five Britons are missing, according to embassy staff. 

Yesterday two women were pulled from the rubble of a university building. Beneath a collapsed bank hi-tech equipment detected heartbeats.

Ex-US president Bill Clinton saluted the Haitians' "astonishing" resilience after visiting a hospital where staff used vodka to sterilise equipment. 

The UN Security Council yesterday agreed to send more troops to guard aid convoys from looters. At the collapsed presidential palace, many Haitians got their first glimpse

of the US's vaunted 11,000 rescue troops as Black Hawk helicopters landed. 

Watching survivor Gille Frantz shook his head as he said: "It's been eight days now."

Meanwhile Fugees singer Wyclef Jean denied milking a charity he set up to aid his native Haiti. The hip hop star, 37, said he spent three days there pulling bodies from

rubble. He sobbed in a web broadcast to countrymen: "I don't cry for myself, I cry for you."