Anger mounts as Haiti sees little sign of aid

2010-01-15 09:45

Anger and despair mounted in quake-hit Haiti yesterday with

rotting bodies littering the streets and little sign of desperately needed

international aid for the hundreds of thousands of victims.

The stench of death hung over the capital Port-au-Prince as

residents, still clawing through rubble in the hunt for survivors, faced another

night in the open, traumatised by aftershocks triggered by Tuesday’s 7.0


Despite the launch of a massive international aid operation, there

was no sign of heavy lifting equipment among the rubble even as tons of material

and badly-needed supplies deluged the international airport.

Haitian officials have warned the overall death toll may top 100

000 and say three million people could have been affected by the powerful quake

that ripped across the poorest nation in the Americas.

The International Red Cross said the quake, the largest in the

Caribbean island nation in more than 150 years, has killed between 40 000 and 50

000 people.

“If international aid doesn’t come, the situation will deteriorate

quickly. We need water and food urgently,” said Haitian survivor Lucille, still

dazed by the scenes of devastation and carnage.

Sporadic gunshots were heard, and witnesses said there had already

been some looting in a city that has endured bloodshed and violence and natural

disasters over the past decades.

“More doctors, fewer journalists,” one man yelled angrily, shaking

his fists at a foreign media crew.

A giant US aircraft carrier was expected to drop anchor off the

stricken Caribbean island nation today and serve as a landing pad for a

fleet of helicopters to bring emergency teams and vital supplies to quake


But harrowing scenes were being repeated across the city as

frustrated Haitians dug with their hands through mountains of concrete and

rubble while the screams and moans of those buried below rang out.

Some people set up temporary shelters with sheets and covers in a

public square, while others were trekking out carrying meagre belongings,

searching for safer places outside the city.

Hundreds of bodies, some mutilated and half-clothed, lay rotting

outside the devastated central hospital as waves of distraught Haitians moved

from corpse to corpse in search of their loved ones.

Haitian native and hip hop star Wyclef Jean described conditions as

“the apocalypse” and said Haiti needed to raise a million dollars a day to


“We spent the day picking up dead bodies, all day that’s what we

did. There’s so much bodies in the streets that the morgues are filled up, the

cemeteries are filled up,” he told Fox News.

Doctors were struggling to treat the vast numbers of sick and

injured, with medical charity Medecins Sans Frontiers speaking of patients with

“severe traumas, head wounds, crushed limbs” and burns.

Communications remained poor, and moving around was hampered by

destroyed roads and lack of fuel.

US State Department spokesperson P. Crowley said eight

search-and-rescue teams with a total of 260 people were on the ground, and 30

countries have pledged or already sent help.

China, France, Iceland, the US and Venezuela were among those with

teams on site, with Washington sending ships, helicopters, planes, rescue teams,

a floating hospital and more than 5 000 troops.

“Not only is the US commitment to Haiti growing, but also the

international commitment as well,” said Crowley.

The US had also taken over air traffic control at the swamped

airport which was now operating round-the-clock, he said. Flights were delayed

though as staff struggled to unload supplies.

And little aid had trickled down to the streets.

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