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HAITI
City in ruins as rescuers, aid workers scramble
1/18/2010
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Aid trickles in, but disorder and destroyed infrastructure hinder relief efforts.

Aid and rescue workers rushed to find survivors and bring desperately needed supplies to quake-ravaged Haiti, where a 7.0-earthquake leveled the capital and destroyed dozens of villages on Jan. 12.

The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with a poverty rate of over 70 percent, Haiti has been hit with a series of natural disasters between 2001 and 2008, including hurricanes, that have killed more than 18,000 people. The Jan. 12 earthquake may have left between 50,000 and 100,000 dead, a broad range given the massive destruction and disorder that has taken hold of the impoverished capital, Port-au-Prince, just 15 kilometers from the epicenter of the deadly temblor.

Survivors searched desperately for survivors in the rubble, covered in dust from thousands of collapsed buildings. Emblematic buildings of the capital, including the Presidential Palace, United Nations headquarters, as well as the main hospital were destroyed.

A report by the Haiti Support Group, a nonprofit organization, citing Health Minister Alex Larsen, said up to 1 million people may be homeless and 250,000 are injured.

"We hear on the radio that rescue teams are coming from the outside, but nothing is coming. We only have our fingers to look for survivors," Jean-Baptiste Lafontin Wilfried told the organization.

There is "no sign" of heavy-lifting equipment to move the rubble, it added.

"The rapidly decomposing bodies are also posing a major problem,” it said.

´What is happening is that there is no help in the streets," Jacky Dodard, a Port-au-Prince resident told the Haiti Support Group. "Personally, I haven´t seen any help. "So everybody is trying to drop their dead bodies somewhere. They don´t know what to do with the dead bodies."
—Latinamerica Press.


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