Haiti relief efforts shifts from injured to homeless

2010-01-23 11:20

HAITI’S government has ended the search and rescue phase of the

quake relief effort after at least 132 people were pulled out alive from under

the rubble, the UN’s Organisation for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

said in its latest situation report on the relief effort today.

Up to 67 search and rescue teams with 1?918 staff and 160 dogs have

combed the ruins of Port-au-Prince and towns and villages in south Haiti in the

search for signs of life under collapsed homes and buildings since the quake

struck 10 days ago.

Aid workers have already said that a record number of people for

such a disaster have been rescued alive.

And as deliveries of food, water, shelter and medical care to

hundreds of thousands of people scales up in Port-au-Prince and the worst

affected towns of Jacmel and Leogane, the focus of the relief effort is now

shifting to the homeless.

A huge wave of displacement is underway, partly with official

blessing, as tens of thousands of people move out to parts of the country that

were not affected by the earthquake, the worst to hit the Americas in recent

history.

“The number of people leaving Port-au-Prince is increasing daily,”

the UN said today as more than 130?000 people took advantage of the government’s

offer of free transport to other cities.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that the

number of people fleeing to impoverished rural areas could reach “as high as

1?million”, adding to the strain on local resources.

Aid agencies already stationed around the country prior to the

quake reported people arriving in the central area of St. Marc, Anse-a-Galets

and Gonave Island in the west, many of them with injuries.


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