Haitians employ desperate measures as aid struggles to get in

January 15th, 2010 - 2:24 pm ICT by ANI  

Port-Au-Prince (Haiti), Jan. 15 (ANI): As countries struggle to reach quake-hit Haiti due to crippled ports, desperate Haitians are using whatever is available to save those injured by this week’s earthquake.

In Petionville, next to the capital, people dug through a collapsed shopping center, tossing aside mattresses and office supplies. They used sledgehammers and their bare hands to try to find victims in the rubble.

Nearby 200 survivors, including many children, huddled in a theater parking lot using sheets to rig makeshift tents and shield themselves from the sun in 90-degree heat, Fox News reports.

Although the global relief effort picked up steam on Thursday, but organized efforts to distribute food or water were not visible Wednesday.

In the streets of the capital Port-Au-Prince, survivors set up camps amid piles of salvaged goods, including food being scavenged from the rubble.

Other survivors carried injured to hospitals in wheelbarrows and on stretchers fashioned from doors.

“This is much worse than a hurricane,” said Jimitre Coquillon, a doctor’s assistant working at a makeshift triage center set up in a hotel parking lot. “There’s no water. There’s nothing. Thirsty people are going to die.”

The United Nations released 10 million dollars from its emergency funds, even as U.N. forces in Haiti struggled with their own losses.

“We’ll be using whatever roads are passable to get aid to Port-au-Prince, and if possible we’ll bring helicopters in,” said Emilia Casella, a spokeswoman for the U.N. food agency in Geneva.

The death toll could be between 45,000 and 50,000, with a further three million people hurt or homeless, Reuters quoted a senior Haitian Red Cross official on Thursday.

“No one knows with precision, no one can confirm a figure. Our organization thinks between 45,000 and 50,000 people have died. We also think there are 3 million people affected throughout the country, either injured or homeless,” said Victor Jackson, an assistant national coordinator with Haiti’s Red Cross. (ANI)

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