Belfast Telegraph

Aid arriving in quake-hit Haiti

The center dome of Haiti's National Palace is seen collapsed after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Port-au-Prince
The center dome of Haiti's National Palace is seen collapsed after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Port-au-Prince
A woman cries after finding the body of a loved one in Port-au-Prince (AP/Lynne Sladky)
An injured boy on a street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (AP/APTN)

Rescuers began a race against time to save the Haiti earthquake survivors as a trickle of aid began arriving in the country.

With countless thousands injured and millions in desperate need of food and water, the first flights from overseas touched down at Port-au-Prince airport.

A plane carrying a Chinese search-and-rescue team, medics and tons of food and medicine landed before dawn, along with three French planes with aid and a mobile hospital, officials said.

A British relief team arrived in neighbouring Dominican Republic.

The US and others said they were sending food, water, medical supplies to help what the international Red Cross estimated were three million people - a third of the population - who may need emergency relief.

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

"This is much worse than a hurricane," said Jimitre Coquillon, a doctor's assistant working at a makeshift triage centre set up in a hotel car park. "There's no water. There's nothing. Thirsty people are going to die."

If there were any organised efforts to distribute food or water, they were not visible. The aid group Doctors Without Borders treated wounded at two hospitals that withstood the quake and set up tent clinics elsewhere to replace its damaged facilities. Cuba, which already had hundreds of doctors in Haiti, treated injured in field hospitals.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the three French planes that touched down are to evacuate around 60 injured people to hospitals in the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.

There was still no estimate on how many people were killed by Tuesday's magnitude-7 quake. Haitian President Rene Preval said the toll could be in the thousands. Leading Senator Youri Latortue said it could be 500,000, but conceded that nobody really knew.

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph