ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) - In the geological community, the Haiti earthquake tragedy wasn'ta surprise to many, experts say.
Grand Valley State assistant professor of geology Peter Wamplersaw a very active fault at a rock quarry when he visited Haitiabout two years ago. He has visited Haiti twice since 2007, and hasfriends in Port-au-Prince he hasn't been able to reach.
Many of the buildings Wampler saw in the city and in surroundingareas were made of cinder blocks, he said, and many of the homesdidn't have solid walls.
Buying enough cinder blocks to make the walls solid was tooexpensive for some, he added.
The roads are small and medical care often is difficult toreceive. When Wampler heard about the earthquake, he said he knewthe damage would be severe.
"I immediately thought tens of thousands to hundreds ofthousands of people would be killed," he said. "Because I knew thatthe buildings there are not meant to sustain wind, much lessshaking like this -- and just, the density of the population is sogreat in that small area."
That area has gotten more than 30 aftershocks since the mainearthquake Tuesday afternoon, Wampler said. If Haiti doesn't get alot of help soon, he said he wouldn't be surprised if peoplestarted leaving the island for good.
But the most frightening thing is the unknown, many WestMichigan Haitians have said.
"When you know your loved ones are there and you're not able toreach out to them -- to talk to them, to find out whether or notthey're alive -- there's nothing you can say about that," Haitiannative Ramses Deceus said. "You just sit there and watch TV andhope somebody will pop up onto the screen and say that's myrelative."
But all Deceus can do is wait, and pray his family memberssurvived Tuesday's devastating quake.
"It's shocking and nerve-wracking, knowing you have familymembers back there you aren't able to get in contact with," hesaid.
Phone lines are down, the death toll is climbing, andaftershocks continue after the magnitude 7 earthquake.
Deceus said the only thing he can do is hope for the best forhis family and the country of his birth. He said he hopes thingsturn out better for the survivors in the long run.
"Maybe now we will be able to get the clean water and medicalsupplies and most importantly, the education that the people ofHaiti need," he said.
Watch the video to hear more from Deceus and Wampler.
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