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Haiti inmates escape collapsed central prison in earthquake aftermath

[JURIST] A UN spokesperson acknowledged Wednesday that Haiti's main prison in the capital Port-au-Prince collapsed [AP report] in Tuesday's earthquake, and many of the inmates have escaped. As US President Barack Obama sent thousands of troops to help with the rescue efforts, General Douglas Frazier [official profile], head of the US Southern Command [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] which includes Haiti, indicated that the Naval medical facilities at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] may be used [press briefing] to help with the relief efforts. Many of the refugees may be temporarily housed [Fox News report] at Camp Justice, an area of the base where visitors such as reporters have generally stayed. The US State Department [official website] reported Wednesday that some injured Americans have already been transported [press briefing] to Guantanamo.

The massive earthquake, measured at a 7.0 magnitude [USGS backgrounder], left many in the country homeless. Tens of thousands are feared dead, and rescue efforts are ongoing. Countries around the world have pledged millions of dollars in aid for rescue and recovery efforts.

1/15/10 - A spokesperson for the International Red Cross said that almost all of the prison's 4,000 inmates have escaped.

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