TIME natural disaster

Five Years Later, See TIME’s Coverage of the Haiti Earthquake

Haiti cover
The Jan. 25, 2010, cover of TIME PHOTOGRAPHS BY IVANOH DEMERS/MONTREAL LA PRESSE/AP

The earthquake devastated a nation that was on the verge of achieving long-term economic and political stability

Five years ago on Monday, just as the Caribbean nation of Haiti was beginning to stand on solid footing, the ground beneath it shook. The tremor flattened buildings and killed more than 200,000 people, bringing to a halt the country’s slow but encouraging progress toward economic and political stability.

“Tragedy has a way of visiting those who can bear it least,” TIME’s Michael Elliott observed shortly after, reporting on the earthquake. By then, the devastation wrought by the tremor was coming into focus. The capital city of Port-au-Prince, just 15 miles from the epicenter, had been largely leveled; the National Palace and the city’s cathedral were destroyed; and aid workers were already pleading for international help with messages like this email from Louise Ivers, clinical director for Haiti for the NGO Partners in Health: “Port-au-Prince is devastated, lot of deaths. SOS. SOS … Please help us.”

Support did flow in, in the form of aid workers, foreign aid, and more than $1 billion in charity. But the earthquake set back years of development work in the impoverished country. As TIME reported:

What makes the earthquake especially ‘cruel and incomprehensible,’ as U.S. President Barack Obama put it, was that it struck at a rare moment of optimism. After decades of natural and political catastrophes, the U.N. peacekeeping force and an international investment campaign headed by former President Bill Clinton, the U.N.’s special envoy to Haiti, had recently begun to calm and rebuild the nation.

Starting from scratch, the post-earthquake rebuilding process has made headway. Rubble that covered the ground and blocked transit routes, one of the most tangible signs of the country’s slow recovery in the months after the earthquake, has now largely been cleared. Infrastructure, including a new airport, has been rebuilt. And the number of people living in makeshift tent homes has dropped from some 1.5 million to 70,000, Harry Adam, head of the Department for Construction of Housing and Public Buildings told AFP.

But Haiti, which still hosts the U.N. peacekeeping force known as MINUSTAH (the French acronym for the mission), has a long path ahead. On Friday, the United Nations issued a grim warning of the risks facing the country, the poorest in the western hemisphere. “Persistent chronic poverty and inequality, environmental degradation and continuing political uncertainty threaten achievements Haitians have made over the past five years,” Wendy Bigham, the World Food Programme’s representative in Haiti, said in a statement. Meanwhile, an ongoing political crisis over long-overdue elections has slowed critical recovery efforts and threatens to devolve further. Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, largely credited with overseeing much of the nation’s reconstruction since he took office in 2012, resigned last month amid mass street protests, but his departure has failed to lead to political compromise.

In a statement Wednesday that highlighted the consequences of political instability, the U.N. called for a political compromise by the end of the week “in order to strengthen stability, preserve the democratic gains and ensure sustainable development in Haiti.” Five year’s after the earthquake, Haiti can still scarcely bear more turmoil.

Browse TIME’s special issue about the Haiti earthquake: Haiti’s Tragedy

TIME world affairs

Charlie Hebdo Writer: ‘We Knew That the Threat Was Real’

Cartoonist Antonio Fischetti answers to
Cartoonist Antonio Fischetti speaks to journalists in front of the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Nov. 2, 2011, in Paris after they were destroyed by a petrol-bomb attack overnight Alexander Klein—AFP/Getty Images

A journalist with the French satirical newspaper talks about the unimaginable loss of so many slain colleagues and the future of his publication

Just after the attack that left at least 12 people dead at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Antonio Fischetti, a journalist for the paper, spoke with Coralie Schaub, a Libération staff reporter. His remarks follow:

“We knew that the threat was real, but we weren’t paranoid. Threats against Charlie were recurrent, continual, habitual. There weren’t more recently, and the vigilance had been relaxed. After the fire that destroyed our offices in 2011 [the paper was firebombed after publishing cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad in what Islamist groups said was an act of revenge], there has been a police car outside in front of the paper. At first, it was there all the time, and then during the editorial meeting on Wednesday mornings. But for some time, a month or two, it hasn’t been there. The attackers must have noticed. They really waited for the right moment. Even though there was a code to enter the building, even though you had to know that the newspaper was on the second floor, it was easier to get in to our current offices on Nicolas-Appert Street than it was at our previous location, on Serpollet Street.

Charb [editor in chief, Stéphane Charbonnier] still had his two bodyguards. When he came to have dinner with me, we joked a little about them. I asked him: ‘Well, where did you leave your two bodyguards?’ Once he took a taxi without them. The driver recognized him and asked him to get out right away. The bodyguard told him to never take a taxi alone. He even went on vacation with the guards.

We all said that someone a little crazy and determined, with a Kalashnikov, could go after Charlie. We all knew that Charb might be targeted, he had already been directly targeted by al-Qaeda on the Internet. The idea that we could be killed one day was always in our minds. But carnage of this magnitude, with the desire to kill everyone …

The miracles are those who were late [to work], like Luz [Renald Luzier] or Catherine Meurisse. Or absent like me — I was at a funeral outside Paris. We were friends, not just colleagues. I was particularly close to Charb and Tignous.

They wanted to completely eradicate a newspaper. This is not ‘just’ kill the editor. There are no words. This is really an act of war. All for drawings … they are sick. Charlie had a mission, supported by some, opposed by others. I am even more aware today how important this fight is. We were all in agreement that we should not give in. But they decided to eradicate this symbol of freedom that was Charlie … I talk about it in the past, because I do not see how the newspaper can survive this. Charlie was a newspaper of cartoonists. The writers, like me, are interchangeable. Them not. The Charbs, Tignous, Wolinskis — there are not even 50 like them. Not to mention Cabu.”

This account was excerpted and translated, with permission, from an article that originally appeared in Libération on Jan. 7. You can read the original story here.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Crime

See the Final Moments Before Boston Bombing Suspect Was Arrested

Cops cornered suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose trial began this week, on April 19, 2013

Sgt. Sean Murphy visited TIME in December 2013 to discuss the photographs he made during the dramatic capture of suspected Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on April 19, 2013, in one of the first interviews since he retired from the force. As the bombing suspect’s trial on 30 criminal counts begins in Boston this week, relive the final moments of the manhunt that led to his arrest. The full interview can be read on TIME LightBox.

TIME tragedy

Massachusetts Police Officer Runs Over and Kills College Student Lying in Road

Garrett Gagne, a 22-year-old senior and student athlete, was on Cape Cod to celebrate New Year's Eve

A Massachusetts police officer accidentally killed a college student in Chatham, Cape Cod, on Thursday, running over him as he lay in the road while responding to an emergency call.

Police said it is not known why Garrett Gagne was lying prone in the street at 4 a.m. or what his condition was at that point, the Associated Press reported.

Gagne, 22, a senior and student athlete at New York’s St. Lawrence University, was reportedly in Chatham to celebrate New Year’s Eve with his friends.

The officer, who has yet to be identified, immediately called for help on realizing he had hit Gagne, authorities said.

[AP]

TIME indonesia

Better Weather Allows AirAsia Search to Resume

Indonesia Plane
Indonesian soldiers carry the bodies of victims of AirAsia Flight 8501 upon arrival at Indonesian Military Air Force airport in Surabaya, Indonesia, on Dec. 31, 2014 Firdia Lisnawati—AP

The break in the weather could greatly speed up recovery efforts that have been severely hampered since the first bodies were spotted on Tuesday

(PANGKALAN BUN, INDONESIA) — A much needed break in the weather gave searchers a window Thursday to “fight with full force” to find the victims of AirAsia Flight 8501, with officials also hustling to locate the fuselage of the plane that crashed in the sea four days ago.

Only seven of the 162 bodies have been recovered so far, with four of them found over the past two days arriving Thursday morning in Pangkalan Bun on Borneo island. They will later be flown for identification to Surabaya, where the two-hour flight to Singapore originated on Sunday.

“The visibility is good this morning, we are ready to fight with full force to search for bodies, wreckages that can reveal what went wrong with this accident,” said First Marshal Agus Dwi Putranto, an Air Force Operation commander helping to lead the search, adding four aircraft were dispatched to the area just after sunrise.

Choppy conditions had prevented divers from entering the water on Wednesday, and helicopters were largely grounded. But 18 ships surveyed the narrowed search area. Sonar images identified what appeared to be large parts of the plane, but strong currents were moving the debris.

Thursday’s break in weather — blue skies and calm seas despite earlier storm predictions — could greatly speed up recovery efforts that have been severely hampered since the first bodies were spotted on Tuesday. Vice Air Marshal Sunarbowo Sandi, search and rescue coordinator in Pangkalan Bun, the closest town to the targeted area, said he was hopeful divers would be able to explore the wreckage site.

“It’s possible the bodies are in the fuselage,” he said. “So it’s a race now against time and weather.”

It is still unclear what brought the plane down. The jet’s last communication indicated the pilots were worried about bad weather. They sought permission to climb above threatening clouds but were denied because of heavy air traffic. Four minutes later, the airliner disappeared from the radar without issuing a distress signal.

The cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders, or black boxes, must be retrieved before officials can start determining what caused the crash. Some items recovered so far include a life jacket, an emergency exit window, children’s shoes, a blue suitcase and backpacks filled with food.

Simple wooden coffins — numbered 001 and 002 — with purple flowers on top contained the first two bodies, which were sent Wednesday from Pangkalan Bun to Surabaya for autopsies. The two victims were a woman wearing blue jeans and a boy. Three males and two females were also recovered, all but one was transported from a warship Thursday.

Nearly all the passengers were Indonesian, and many were Christians of Chinese descent. The country is predominantly Muslim, but sizeable pockets of people of other faiths are found throughout the sprawling archipelago. Around 10 percent of those in Surabaya, the nation’s second-largest city, are Christian.

Many family members have remained at the Surabaya airport since getting word that the plane had disappeared. Some, like 15-year-old Chiara Natasha, are now alone.

Her entire family was coming to visit her in Singapore for New Year’s.

She had just moved there in November to study at a Methodist girls’ school on a government scholarship. Her parents and two brothers had promised to join her to celebrate the holiday and help her settle into dormitory life.

But instead of greeting her relatives at the airport, she returned home Sunday to Surabaya, Indonesia, to seek any word about the fate of AirAsia Flight 8501, praying that they had somehow survived.

Families who lost loved ones aboard the jetliner endured another excruciating day of waiting Wednesday as bad weather hindered efforts to recover any more bodies and sent wreckage drifting far from the crash site.

“Help us, God, to move forward, even though we are surrounded by darkness,” the Rev. Philip Mantofa, whose church lost about 40 members in the disaster, told families gathered in a waiting room at the Surabaya airport.

On Wednesday, about 100 relatives gathered for the airport prayer service where Mantofa urged them to hold onto their faith despite their pain. About 40 members of his Mawar Sharon Church died in the crash.

“Some things do not make sense to us, but God is bigger than all this,” he said. “Our God is not evil.”

Before breaking up, those gathered stood together and sang with their hands reaching upward. “I surrender all. I surrender all,” they repeated. “I surrender all to God our savior.”

Many family members had planned to travel to Pangkalan Bun, 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the area where bodies were first spotted, to start identifying their loved ones. However, the manager of the Surabaya airport, Trikora Hardjo, later said the trip was canceled after authorities suggested their presence could slow down the operation.

Instead, some relatives gave blood for DNA tests and submitted photos of their loved ones along with identifying information such as tattoos or birthmarks that could help make the process easier.

___

Ng reported from Surabaya, Indonesia. Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini, Ali Kotarumalos and Margie Mason in Jakarta contributed to this report.

TIME Aviation

Witness the Tragic Aftermath of AirAsia Flight 8501

Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency confirmed Tuesday that searchers had discovered debris from the missing AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 and the bodies of 40 passengers in the Java Sea. The Singapore-bound plane disappeared on Sunday with 162 people on board

TIME brazil

Four People Were Killed by a Lightning Strike on a Brazilian Beach

Local media reports say they included a pregnant woman and were from the same family

Four people were killed Monday by a lightning strike on a popular beach in Brazil, during a sudden storm off the coast of São Paulo.

Citing local media, the BBC says the four included a pregnant woman and were from the same family.

Four other people were injured and taken to hospital, with two said to be in a serious condition.

The victims were sheltering from the heavy rain under a kiosk on Praia Grande beach, near the port city of Santos, when they were struck.

An earlier storm on Monday tore down trees and power lines across São Paulo state, causing transport chaos.

[BBC]

TIME Italy

Disgraced Concordia Captain Was ‘Trying to Impress Passengers’

ITALY-SHIPPING-TOURISM-DISASTER-TRIAL
Costa Concordia's captain Francesco Schettino attends the resumption of his trial on December 2, 2014 in Grosseto, Italy. Giuseppe Cacace —AFP/Getty Images

Francesco Schettino claims he wanted to give passengers a better view of a nearby island when the ship ran aground

The captain of the ill-fated Costa Concordia that crashed off the coast of Italy in January 2012 said his disastrous decision to sail into shallow waters was fueled by a desire to impress the ship’s passengers, according to the BBC.

While taking the stand for the first time during his trial for manslaughter in Grosseto, Italy on Tuesday, Francesco Schettino said he was aiming to give passengers a better view of the holiday island of Giglio, while also saluting a former captain who lived there and doing a favor to the vessel’s head waiter, who was from the island.

“I wanted to kill three birds with one stone,” explained Schettino.

He denied the rumor that he made the risky maneuver to impress a female friend.

Thirty-two people died after the ship crashed into rocks near the shore and the boat listed on its side. The resumption of Schettino’s trial comes a month after authorities successfully recovered the last body from the cruise ship’s wreckage.

The captain was vilified in the media and dubbed “Italy’s most hated man” after an audio recording revealed that he defied orders from the Italian Coast Guard and fled the ship after ordering an evacuation, while hundreds of passengers remained on board.

[BBC]

TIME tragedy

Ticket Waived for Teen Who Dozed at Wheel in Fatal Car Wreck

Five of his family members were killed in the accident

A ticket will be waived for a teen who dozed off at the wheel, causing a car crash that took the lives of five of his family members.

The Texas teen, whose name has not been released, said he fell asleep at the wheel of his family’s car around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The family was driving through Louisiana at the time, on their way to Disney World in Florida for Thanksgiving.

The car hit the median and ultimately flipped, causing six of the eight people in the car to be ejected from the vehicle. Five of those family members died. They included parents Michael and Trudi Hardman, and kids Dakota Watson, 15, Kaci Hardman, 4, and Adam Hardman, 7.

The driver was initially issued a ticket for the accident, but that was then waived. “This young man has been punished enough,” Louisiana Fourth Judicial District Attorney Jerry Jones said, The News Star reports. “There is no need to add to his pain. The ticket will be dismissed.”

[The News Star]

TIME tragedy

Father of 12-Year-Old Shot by Cleveland Police: ‘Why Not Taze Him’

This undated photo provided by the family's attorney shows Tamir Rice, 12.
This undated photo provided by the family's attorney shows Tamir Rice, 12 AP

The father of a Cleveland boy who was fatally shot by local police on a playground Saturday raised questions about the use of live ammunition against his slain son on Sunday.

Police approached Tamir Rice, age 12, with weapons drawn, after a caller told emergency services a “guy with a gun was pointing it at people” in Cudell Commons Park, Cleveland.com reports. Police say Rice reached for the handle of a BB gun tucked into his waistband, which they mistook for a real weapon. The caller reportedly said on two occasions that the weapon was most likely a “fake.”

The responding officers fired two shots, one of which struck Rice in the abdomen.

“Why not taze him,” Gregory Henderson asked in a Sunday press conference following the shooting. “You shot him twice, not once, and at the end of the day you all don’t shoot for the legs, you shoot for the upper body.”

The department will open a lethal force investigation, which will be submitted to the prosecutor’s office within 90 days, officials said during a Monday press conference. They declined to release video footage capturing the incident on tape or to comment on the officer’s conduct, except to say that he was “very distraught” over what happened.

“The facsimile weapon in this incident was indistinguishable from a real firearm,” said police Chief Calvin Williams.

NBC reported Monday afternoon that a grand jury will hear the case.

Asked if the city was prepared for protests similar to the ones that shook the city of Ferguson, Missouri, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson replied, “Whatever comes, we’re prepared to handle it.”

[Cleveland.com]

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