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Many flee as aftershock hits Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A powerful aftershock sent Haitians screaming into the streets Wednesday, collapsing buildings, cracking roads and adding to the trauma of a nation stunned by an apocalyptic quake eight days ago.

The magnitude-5.9 jolt’matched the strongest of the’aftershocks that have followed’the huge quake on Jan. 12 that devastated Haiti’s capital.

The new temblor collapsed seven buildings in Petit-Goave, the seaside town closest to the’epicenter, according to Mike’Morton of the U.N. Disaster Assessment and Coordination agency, but there were no reports of people crushed or trapped, perhaps because the earlier quake frightened most people into’sleeping outside.

Wails of terror erupted in’Port-au-Prince, where the’aftershock briefly interrupted rescue efforts amid the broken’concrete of collapsed buildings, and prompted doctors and patients to flee the University Hospital.

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians remain homeless, hungry and in mourning – most still waiting for the benefits of a’nearly $1 billion global aid campaign that has brought hundreds of doctors and thousands of troops to the impoverished Caribbean nation.

U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes told reporters in New York that 2 million Haitians will’probably need food aid for six months, while the World Food Programme and other donors so far have reached only about half a million ‘with reasonable quantities of food’ so far.

The U.S. Navy’s floating hospital, USNS Comfort, dropped anchor in view of the capital on Wednesday with about 550 medical staff, joining teams from about 30 other countries trying to treat the injured. About 250,000 people were hurt in the quake and aid groups say many people have died for lack of medical care or’adequate equipment.