Ambassador Raymond Joseph told "Good Morning America" today that he had no way to estimate how many people may have died in the 7.0 earthquake that hit Tuesday, shortly before 5 p.m.
He pointed to the partial collapse of the presidential palace -- a sturdy, statuesque building constructed in 1918 -- as a marker of how bad the devastation will be among the country's numerous shantytowns and simple homes.
"If a building like the palace, which is very solid, collapsed, then the devastation is going to be worse since the buildings are not up to code in Port-au-Prince," Joseph said. "They are flimsy little abodes."
Haiti's Earthquake Poses Health Crisis for Impoverished NationThe Haitian president Rene Preval and his wife were in the palace at the time of the earthquake, but contacted the U.S. consulate in Florida late Tuesday night to confirm they were unijured.
Joseph said Haiti, especially it's capital, is dotted with small homes that cling to the country's hillsides and were not constructed to stand up to an earthquake of this magnitude. He told "GMA" that he remembered once flying over Port-au-Prince and musing that construction of the city's neighborhoods were a disaster waiting to happen.
"I'm sorry," he said today. "It has happened."
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