News / Americas

UN: Significant Progress in Providing Aid to Quake Victims in Haiti

The United Nations is scaling up relief operation on all levels, with shelter topping the list of priorities, according to one official.

A camp of makeshift tents sprawls at Port-au-Prince's golf course, where many Haitians displaced by the earthquake have set up shelter, 25 Jan 2010
A camp of makeshift tents sprawls at Port-au-Prince's golf course, where many Haitians displaced by the earthquake have set up shelter, 25 Jan 2010

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

The United Nations reports significant progress has been made in providing assistance to hundreds of thousands of quake victims in Haiti.  A senior U.N. official says the relief operation is being scaled up on all levels, with shelter topping the list of priorities.  

The United Nations says things may be improving, but the crisis in earthquake-devastated Haiti is far from over.  U.N. officials report nearly one-half million people have left the capital Port-au-Prince for outlying areas.  They say 90 percent of these people are staying with host families who are in need of assistance.

U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes calls Haiti a particularly difficult and complicated operation.  He says he understands the frustration of aid workers who are not able to quickly reach the survivors with desperately needed assistance.

"What I think we can see now is that we are beginning to make really significant progress in doing that, particularly on the food side, but, in some other areas as well," Holmes said. "So, the scaling up is happening significantly now ...  But, we still have a significant way to go before we reach everybody with the aid that they need."  

Holmes says health care for the injured and sick is getting better, although it still is not good.  He notes most life-saving operations have taken place.  But vital drugs are still lacking, and there need to be more surveillance systems to monitor the outbreak of epidemics.

He says most people are receiving water, but sanitation must be improved and 7,000 latrines must be built in Port-au-Prince.  He says more people are receiving food and the World Food Program aims to reach two million people in the next 10 days.

"The number of people being reached with the basic food they need, rice and ready-to-eat meals where appropriate is scaling up in the way we all want to see," Holmes said. "That is an operation that is being conducted on the basis of coupons and so it can be more easily targeted than the very quick and dirty distributions, if I call it that way, which were being used in the first couple of weeks.  So, I think there is good progress being made there."  

Holmes says tens of thousands of people will need tents, plastic sheets and tarpaulins before the rainy and hurricane seasons start in a few months.  He says there are not many tents in Haiti, but 50,000 tents are in the pipeline and are expected to arrive shortly. 

"I think there was a desire to avoid creating large camps, which have a tendency to become permanent over time rather than temporary," Holmes said. "There is a problem of space for large camps, certainly in the immediate vicinity of Port-au-Prince.  Therefore, it was also clear to people looking at this that people did not want to go away from Port-au-Prince into large camps.  They wanted to stay close to their homes."  

U.N. humanitarian chief Holmes says many of the quake survivors are still in the rubble of their own homes because they want to be close to where they used to live and work. 

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Jailed American Aims to Leave Cuba 'Dead or Alive'

In Havana after visiting Alan Gross, attorney Scott Gilbert say his client has lost some vision in his right eye, walks with a limp due to hip problems, has lost a tooth and is 50 kilograms lighter than at the time of his arrest
More

Oldest Living Pro Ballplayer Dead at 102

Conrado Marrero's grandson confirmed the death, which came just two days before the centenarian's 103rd birthday
More

Summit to Protect Oceans Opens

Oceans called fundamental to life
More

Actress Lupita Nyong'o is People's 'Most Beautiful' Woman

Oscar winner, 31, lauded for role in '12 Years A Slave' says she 'never dreamed' she would be praised for her looks and land on cover of weekly magazine
More

Violent Protests Erupt Near Rio's Tourist Attractions

The rioting was sparked after word spread that the body of Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira, a dancer on Brazil's Globo television network, had been discovered
More

Russia Expels Canadian Diplomat

Reports say first secretary's expulsion in Moscow is in retaliation for deportation of Russian military attache from Russian Embassy in Ottawa
More