Second school collapses in Haiti, nine hurt

Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:22pm EST

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By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Nov 12 (Reuters) - A two-story school partially collapsed in Haiti's capital on Wednesday and at least nine people were taken to hospitals, five days after another school collapse that killed 95 people, officials said.

Hundreds of panicked parents and other people rushed to the Grace Divine school in the Canape Vert section of Port-au-Prince, where emergency workers dug through rubble in search of possible victims.

Officials at the scene said most of the children were on a break from classes and were outside the school when part of the building collapsed. There were no immediate reports of deaths.

Haitian authorities blamed the collapse on Friday of the three-story La Promesse school in the Nerettes area on shoddy construction. They said the building had little structural steel or cement holding its concrete blocks together.

They said Wednesday's collapse appeared to have the same cause.

"It is the same kind of construction we have seen in Nerettes," said Eucher Luc Joseph, secretary of state for public safety. "It is construction with practically no cement, no iron. It has been built in total violation of regulations."

The owner of the La Promesse school was arrested.

The government declared Thursday a day of mourning and promised about $3,000 to the family of each victim of the La Promesse disaster to pay funeral expenses.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is still recovering from four tropical storms and hurricanes that killed more than 800 people and destroyed 60 percent of its crops in August and September. (Writing by Jim Loney; Editing by Doina Chiacu)




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