Desperation grips Haiti
Thousands of people left hurt or homeless in Haiti’s earthquake spent a third night lying on sidewalks and clamoured for help on Friday as their despair turned to anger and aftershocks rippled through the wrecked city.world Updated: Jan 16, 2010 01:21 IST
Thousands of people left hurt or homeless in Haiti’s earthquake spent a third night lying on sidewalks and clamoured for help on Friday as their despair turned to anger and aftershocks rippled through the wrecked city.
Governments across the world are pouring relief supplies and medical teams into the quake-hit Caribbean state — already the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.
But huge logistical hurdles and the sheer scale of the destruction mean aid is still not reaching hundreds of thousands of hurt and homeless people in the devastated coastal capital Port-au-Prince.
“These people have lost everything, They have nothing. They have been waiting for two days now. No one is helping us. Please bring us water or people will die soon,” said Renelde Lamarque, who has opened his home yard to about 500 quake victims in the devastated Fort National neighbourhood.
Raggedly dressed survivors held out their arms to a reporter, begging for food and water.
Tens of thousands are feared dead from Tuesday’s quake and dangerous aftershocks still ripple every few hours through the city, dislodging debris and increasing the anguish of people traumatised by death and injury on a massive scale.
A big aftershock jolted buildings at about 5 a.m on Friday, causing fresh alarm.
But as the risk of starvation and disease increased in shattered streets strewn with rubble, garbage and rotting bodies, most Haitians said they had still received nothing.
In one part of Port-au-Prince on Thursday, desperate Haitians blocked streets with corpses in a protest to demand quicker relief efforts.
In a sign that international relief efforts cut across ideological differences, communist-led Cuba agreed to let the US military use restricted Cuban air space for medical evacuation flights carrying Haitian earthquake victims, sharply reducing the flight time to Miami, a US official said.
US forces were trying to step up operations at the airport in order to get more supplies into the country.
The Haitian Red Cross said it believed 45,000 to 50,000 people had died and 3 million more — one third of Haiti’s population — were hurt or left homeless by the major 7.0 magnitude quake that hit its capital on Tuesday.