In Haiti, workers give up on finding life in school collapse

Miami HeraldNovember 10, 2008 

PETIONVILLE, Haiti — Rescue workers who spent the day chipping away at the rubble of a collapsed school building in Haiti said Monday there is no chance of finding any more survivors.

Crews from Haiti, the United States and Martinique searched through the rubble as the stench of death trailed through the air.

''We have done everything we can to ensure there are no people in there alive,'' said Mike Istvan of the Fairfax County, Va., Urban Search and Rescue Team.

The bodies still in the rubble died from the impact of the collapse and could not have been saved by rescuers, said Rebecca Gustafson of USAID.

''It's all impact,'' she said.

Now comes the question of how to demolish what remains of the building -- the efforts could be hampered by the difficulty of navigating heavy equipment down the narrow roads.

Earlier in the day, rescue workers continued to chip away at the collapsed school building. Martinique brigade members, clad in orange hats, were shoveling away cement on the roof. Next to them, five Fairfax County rescuers in neon-colored hard hats were looking down, as one of their members entered part of the building's top floor. Looking on were members of the Haitian fire department and several civilian volunteers.

Haiti's education minister said all of the country's 1,500 public schools will be inspected as well as the estimated 8,000 privately run schools in the wake of the school collapse that so far has killed 90 people.

''We will do an evaluation of the schools and we could close some of them,'' Miloodey Vincent, spokesman for the ministry of education, said. "It's not an easy task, but in light of this tragedy, it's something we will do.''

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