Aid trickles onto Haiti streets

2010-01-16 11:09

THOUSANDS of hungry and thirsty, destitute victims of the Haiti

earthquake were still waiting to receive aid today amid massive international

efforts to help them.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will travel to Haiti

today to see the relief efforts first hand, deliver supplies and meet Haitian

President Rene Preval, said: “We will .?.?. reinforce President Barrack Obama’s

message that they are not facing this crisis alone.”

UN chief Ban Ki-moon is set to tomorrow after the world body

appealed for $562?million (about R4?billion) from donors. He said the UN system

was mobilising all its resources “as fast as we possibly can”.

A vanguard of the 10?000 US troops being deployed to Haiti took

control of the airport, clogged with tons of relief supplies, and began the

first mass distributions of aid.

And the crippled port of the Haitian capital received its first

supply ship, a boat carrying bananas and coal that was greeted with jubilation

by desperate residents.

However, the relief work also faces logistical challenges,

according to Rear Admiral Ted Branch, the most senior officer aboard the

warship.

“We have lift, we have communications, we have some command and

control but we don’t have much relief supplies to offer,” said Branch.

The UN mission in Haiti was hit hard by the quake,

with 37 of its 12?000 employees confirmed dead and 330 unaccounted for.

UN officials said the World Food Programme was feeding about 8?000

people several times a day and hopes to feed roughly one million people within

15 days and two million within a month.

The Haitian capital – insecure at the best of times – is now devoid

of a functioning police force. When the earthquake hit, it also let loose up to

4?000 convicts who escaped from the city’s collapsed jail.

“They are robbing people. It is a big problem,” a local policeman

said standing near the jail, rifle at the ready. “All the bandits of the city

are now on the streets.”


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