UN: Search and rescue phase in Haiti over, 132 saved

January 23rd, 2010 - 9:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Geneva, Jan 23 (DPA) The government of Haiti has declared the search and rescue phase of the relief efforts over, the United Nations said Saturday.
The focus would shift to helping the survivors of the devastating Jan 12 earthquake.

“The Government has declared the search and rescue phase over. There were 132 live rescues by international search and rescue teams,” the latest report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

People with means were being encouraged to leave the capital Port-au-Prince and find accommodations elsewhere. According to UN estimates, about 1 million people might be fleeing the city for the countryside.

Shelter for the homeless of Haiti was a primary concern for the UN, along with an “overwhelming” number of people with untreated injuries, according to the OCHA report.

To date, the Haitian government counted 111,481 confirmed deaths in several areas of the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

The UN also reported improvements in the efforts to get aid to those in need, including food and medicine.

Meanwhile, the international organization Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders, MSF) warned of increasing tensions in some slums, and a rise in the number of wounds from gunshot and machetes in those areas, which were plagued with violence even prior to the earthquake.

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