PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The staggering scope of Haiti’s nightmare came into sharper focus Monday as authorities estimated 200,000 dead and 1.5 million homeless in the quake-ravaged heart of this tragic land, where injured survivors still died in the streets, doctors pleaded for help and looters slashed at one another in the rubble.
The world pledged more money, food, medicine and police. Some 2,000 U.S. Marines steamed into nearby waters. And ex-president Bill Clinton, special U.N. envoy, flew in to offer support. Six days after the earthquake struck, search teams still pulled buried survivors from the ruins.
But hour by hour the unmet needs of hundreds of thousands grew.
Overwhelmed surgeons appealed for anesthetics, scalpels, saws for cutting off crushed limbs. Uncounted thousands of survivors sought to cram onto buses headed out of town. In downtown streets, others begged for basics.
“Have we been abandoned? Where is the food?” shouted one man, Jean Michel Jeantet.
‘Unplug the bottlenecks’
The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) said it expected to boost operations from feeding 67,000 people on Sunday to 97,000 on Monday. But it needs 100 million prepared meals over the next 30 days, and it appealed for more government donations.
“I know that aid cannot come soon enough,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in New York after returning from Haiti.
“Unplug the bottlenecks,” he urged.
In one step to reassure frustrated aid groups, the U.S. military agreed to give aid deliveries priority over military flights at the now-U.S.-run airport here, the WFP announced in Rome. The Americans’ handling of civilian flights had angered some humanitarian officials.
Looting and violence flared again Monday, as hundreds clambered over the broken walls of shops to grab anything they could — including toothpaste, now valuable for lining nostrils against the stench of Port-au-Prince’s dead. Police fired into the air as young men fought each other over rum and beer with broken bottles and machetes.
Injuries force agonizing choices
Jan. 18: Doctors are treating a huge number of similar injuries from Haiti’s devastating earthquake at a private hospital now being used as a trauma center. NBC’s Nancy Snyderman reports.
Hard-pressed medical teams sometimes had to take time away from quake victims to deal with gunshot wounds, said Loris de Filippi of Doctors Without Borders. In the Montrissant neighborhood, Red Cross doctors working in shipping containers and saying they “cannot cope” lost 50 patients over two days, said international Red Cross spokesman Simon Schorno.
Amid the debris and the smoke of bodies being burned, dozens of international rescue teams dug on in search of buried survivors. And on Monday afternoon, some 140 hours after the quake, they pulled two Haitian women alive from a collapsed university building. At a destroyed downtown bank, another team believed it was just hours from saving a trapped employee.
The latest casualty report, from the European Commission citing Haitian government figures, doubled previous estimates of the dead from the magnitude-7.0 quake, to approximately 200,000, with some 70,000 bodies recovered and trucked off to mass graves.
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Article courtesy of: msnbc.com
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