News / Americas

Search for Survivors Offers Small Glimmer of Hope as Aid Trickles to Haiti

U.S. officials say a trickle of international aid is beginning to reach survivors of Haiti's massive earthquake, but impassable roads, limited airlift capability and other challenges are complicating that effort. As anger and restlessness escalate in the Hatian capital, Port-au-Prince, there were some signs of hope amid the destruction as rescue workers dug through crumbled buildings, and in some instances, freed trapped survivors.

The sound of applause rang out  as rescue workers pulled Jens Christensen, a Danish United Nations worker, alive from the ruins of the U.N. mission headquarters in Haiti. Christensen was buried alive beneath the rubble for five days.  

Dave Hutcheson, a U.S. rescue worker says Christensen appeared to be in good shape.

"It took us four hours to get to him," he said.  "We saw him, we got a visual on him in about three [hours] and we had him out in four. He wasn't trapped physically around his body. He was trapped in an area."

Christensen was one of several survivors pulled from the rubble on Sunday. His rescue from the wreckage of the U.N.'s offices in Haiti came just minutes after United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the site.

Mr. Ban, on a one-day trip to offer support, says, right now, the first priority of the U.N. is to save as many lives as possible.

"The destruction, the loss of life, are just overwhelming.  Therefore, we need unprecedented international support to Haitian people," he said.

The international community is reaching out to Haiti with massive amounts of aid, but getting help to survivors is challenging.

The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Rajiv Shah, outlined some of the obstacles on ABC's "This Week" program.

"We are talking about 3.5-million people in need.  We are talking about a significant degradation of what was already relatively weak infrastructure [in Haiti]. No port access, roads are difficult to get around," said Shah.  "So what we are now doing is putting in place military assets.  The [U.S.] aircraft carrier arrived this week.  It has 19 helicopters, and a lot of the transport of commodities and supplies is through the helicopters."

More than a dozen aid centers have been set up in and around Port-au-Prince, and massive crowds materialize whenever shipments arrive.

In some cases, supplies have been parceled out with relative calm and order.  But confrontations between aid-seekers and security personnel have also occurred, and, in some instances, delivery helicopters have been forced to leave prematurely, or drop supplies from the air.

Coordinating the arrival of massive quantities of aid and personnel from around the world to Port-au-Prince's small and damaged international airport has also proved challenging.

U.S. President Barack Obama has tapped two of his predecessors, former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, to lead a private fundraising effort to assist and rebuild Haiti.

Clinton has said he will travel Monday to Port-au-Prince in his capacity as U.N. special envoy to Haiti.

In the midst of the disaster, many Haitians paused Sunday for worship in the overwhelmingly Catholic nation.

A female earthquake survivor says she is praying for herself and for her country, especially for those who are suffering and under the rubble.

Haitian authorities say tens-of-thousands of corpses have been buried in mass graves, and that the final death toll could reach 200,000.
 

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Senators Introduce Bill to End Ban on Americans Traveling to Cuba

Some Cuban American lawmakers strongly oppose Obama administration’s sudden shift in US policy towards Cuba, others say it is past time to end embargo
More

At Mexican Hospital, Rescuers Search for Blast Victims

At least 2 people killed and dozens wounded, including 22 children, when tanker truck explodes outside building
More

HRW: Security Measures Erode Human Rights Worldwide

New Human Rights Watch report cites Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Israel and the United States among nations using security concerns to justify rights violations
More

Chilean MPs Approve Measure Allowing Civil Unions

Bill will give many legal rights afforded to married couples to about two million more Chileans - mostly unmarried heterosexuals but also gay couples
More

Don't Meddle in Our Politics, Cuba's Leader Warns US

Fomenting opposition to Cuba's government will undermine efforts at normalizing bilateral relations, he says at summit in Costa Rica
More

Owner of Gun That Killed Argentine Prosecutor Emerges From Hiding

Diego Lagomarsino says he lent firearm for protection to Alberto Nisman, who was probing 1994 bombing of Buenos Aires Jewish community center
More