News / Americas

Haiti Earthquake Displaces 300,000

In its first estimate, the United Nations reports about 10 percent of the housing in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince has been destroyed, leaving some 300,000 people homeless. The UN says a full assessment of the damages inflicted by the powerful earthquake will take several days to complete.

Multimedia

Audio
Lisa Schlein

In its first estimate, the United Nations reports about 10 percent of the housing in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince has been destroyed, leaving some 300,000 people homeless.  The UN says a full assessment of the damages inflicted by the powerful earthquake will take several days to complete.

The United Nations says some 3.5 million people are living in areas affected by the earthquake. Nearly three million are in the capital, Port-au-Prince, which was most seriously affected. 

Aid agencies say it is too soon to know how many people were killed and injured. But, they say it is sure to be in the tens of thousands. 

In the meantime, a helicopter assessment of the stricken area has found 50 percent of some areas have been destroyed or seriously damaged, with many buildings completely collapsed.

A U.N. spokeswoman, Elizabeth Byrs, says a coordination center has been set up near the airport to oversee the increasingly complex humanitarian operation.  And, she says a reception center has been set up at the airport to help coordinate the many incoming teams and humanitarian aid.

In addition, she says an air bridge is being established with the Dominican Republic from Santo Domingo to Port-au-Prince.

"Another shuttle will be put in place, established by the peacekeeping forces - a shuttle with airplanes with the capacity of between 30 and 40 passengers," she said. 

The World Food Program and International Organization for Migration report they distributed food and non-food items Thursday to 4,000 survivors in Port-au-Prince. They will continue with the emergency distribution today, Friday.

World Food Program spokeswoman, Emilia Casella, says WFP's warehouses have been seriously damaged but food stocks appear to be intact. In any case, she says that the food in the warehouses is not appropriate for the current needs.

She says people caught in the earthquake are unable to cook and require ready-to-eat foods.

"What the World Food Program is now looking at is aiming to reach initially about two million people who are affected by Tuesday's earthquake with an emergency operation that will start by calling for 14 million humanitarian daily rations which would be enough to feed two million people for about 30 days," she said. 

Thousands of corpses are strewn along the streets of Port-au-Prince and environs. A World Health Organization spokesman, Paul Garwood, says collecting and disposing of the corpses is of primary concern.

"The presence of dead bodies in a community does not pose a public health risk," he noted. "That has got to be stressed and made clear. There has been inaccurate reporting to that fact… At the same time, there is an obvious psycho-social mental health aspect to this. People do not want to see this. And, if you are a family member of someone who has passed away, anyone seeing this kind of tragedy has to be responded to. We work with that kind of urgency." 

Garwood says the scale of this disaster is overwhelming.  He says there is an urgent need for more body bags so laying the corpses to rest is done in an appropriate way.

He says WHO does not recommend mass graves.  Rather, in cases where there are large numbers of bodies, he says WHO advises that bodies be placed in shallow ditches.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
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.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Tourism, Farm Groups See Bigger Business With Cuba

'We are the closest major food producer that Cuba has,' an American Farm Bureau Federation spokesman notes
More

Castro Lauds US Outreach, Says Cuba to Remain Communist

In speech to lawmakers, Cuba's president says economic reforms will be accelerated, yet changes will be gradual
More

Raul Castro Steps Out of Brother's Shadow With US Deal

Cuban president scores diplomatic triumph, surge in support with this week's deal that ends decades of hostility with United States
More

US Report: Immigration Officials' Apprehensions Rose in 2014

Apprehensions of Mexicans fall 14 percent; those of individuals from other countries, predominantly in Central America, rise 68 percent
More

Strife, Mutual Interests Mark Cuba-US Ties

Island nation was once a vacation destination for Americans; over years, many Cubans sought refuge across the Florida Straits
More

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change
More