News / Americas

Devastation Hampers Earthquake Relief Effort in Haiti

Multimedia

Lisa Schlein

The United Nations and international aid agencies are ramping up their assistance to earthquake victims in Haiti.  But, they report the extent of devastation caused by the powerful quake is hampering their relief efforts. 

Haiti is prone to disasters, but this huge quake is the worst to hit the Caribbean island state in two centuries.  The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Tuesday destroyed much of the country's capital, Port-au-Prince.

The International Red Cross fears up to three million people may have been affected by the earthquake, which not only devastated the capital city, but many smaller nearby communities. 

The United Nations reports electricity has been cut off and communications are difficult.  It says bridges have been knocked out, hospitals and care facilities have been damaged or destroyed.  Haiti's envoy to the United States estimates losses could run into the billions.

The World Food Program is leading the United Nations emergency operation in Haiti.  The director of the WF office in Geneva, Charles Vincent, says the airport in Port-au-Prince is open.  But, he says access to the town from the airport is limited because of debris and other obstacles on the roads.

"The Dominican Republic, which … could be an important hub for us to bring relief material on behalf of the humanitarian community has not been damaged, so we can use the Dominican Republic assets.  And, we are beefing up our teams on the other side of the border," he said. 

Vincent says there are about four million people concentrated in and around Port-au-Prince.  So, it is extremely critical to get essential aid and relief supplies to the survivors. 

He says WF has thousands of tons of food stocks in Haiti.  So, he says WF can respond very quickly to food needs. 

"We are also airlifting about 90 tons of food, of high energy biscuits from Panama to provide people that basically have no cooking material anymore.  They are outside.  They do not want to go back in, they can't go back in.  So, the use of biscuits as a temporary measure is probably the best - it is the best way to respond to the food shortage, at least in the coming days and possibly weeks," he said.

The World Health Organization says it is deploying a 12-member team of health and logistics experts to Haiti.  WHO says the control of communicable diseases, such as diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections, will be a major concern in coming days.
 

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

US-Cuba Move Ends Decades of Island's Isolation

Cuban revolution, outreach to Soviets set off years of antipathy between Washington, Havana
More

Colombia's FARC Rebels Declare Conditional Unlimited Ceasefire

Group says it is also demanding high-profile certification of its ceasefire through the UN, Red Cross or regional intergovernmental organization
More

American Lawmakers, Others Split on US-Cuba Moves

Some praise approach; Florida Senator Rubio denounces ‘victory for oppressive Cuban government’
More

An Elated Alan Gross: 'It's Good to be Home'

'This is a game changer,' newly-freed political prisoner tells audience, referring to his release and the US policy shift toward Cuba
More

Over $6 Trillion Lost to Illicit Flows

Study says developing nations hurt by corruption, tax evasion
More

New Policy Will Dramatically Alter US-Cuba Relations

Plan will renew diplomatic ties, ease restrictions on travel and remittances, altering how Cubans and Americans can interact
More